What Happens if I Violate my Probation in New Jersey?
Probation is a period of time, usually 1 to 5 years, when you are required to be under the supervision of a probation officer, instead of serving time in prison. When you are on probation in New Jersey, there are certain conditions to your probation—things you may not do and things you must do. If you engage in actions prohibited by the conditions of your probation or you fail to do what you were required to do, you violate your probation. This includes probation imposed as an alternative sentence, a probationary period under a diversionary program such as Pretrial Intervention (PTI), and probation that begins after completing a jail sentence. Probation violations of all kinds are extremely serious in New Jersey and best handled by an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Proetta & Oliver, our lawyers defend clients accused of probation violations in Hudson County and throughout New Jersey. For important information about violating probation in NJ, keep reading and please contact our Jersey City office for a free consultation about your specific situation. We can be reached anytime at (201) 793-8018 or you can send us an email.
What are the Conditions of Probation in New Jersey?
Each individual has different conditions to their probation, but common conditions include:
- Do not violate any laws
- No drug or alcohol consumption
- No operating a motor vehicle (if your driver’s license has been suspended)
- No traveling out of state
- No traveling outside the country
- You must attend a drug or alcohol treatment program
- You must attend anger management classes
- You must perform community service
- Report to your probation officer as required
The conditions of your probation should be of no surprise to you, as you were required to review them before agreeing to the conditions. Forgetting the conditions or claiming that you did not know a particular action was prohibited or required of you is not a valid defense to violating your probation. However, there are instances where extenuating circumstances lead to probation violations. Regardless of the circumstances, if you are accused of violating PTI or probation, you need to mount a compelling defense.
What happens if I violated my probation?
If you violate your probation in New Jersey, your probation officer will file a Violation of Probation complaint. At that point, it is a very good idea to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer, as you may be looking at jail time if the court determines you violated the terms of your probation. After the complaint is filed, a court date will be set for a VOP hearing.
It is very important that you attend your Violation of Probation hearing, because failure to appear will likely result in a bench warrant for your arrest. During the hearing, the judge will listen to both sides and determine whether you violated your probation and, if so, what the penalty for the violation should be.
Unlike a criminal case, where the prosecution must prove you committed a crime “beyond a reasonable doubt,” the burden of proof required in a Violation of Probation hearing is whether the judge finds you violated the conditions “by a preponderance of the evidence.” That means it is easier to prove that you violated your probation than it is to prove you committed the original offense you were charged with.
You may be wondering what the penalties for violating probation are in New Jersey. Some possible consequences for violating your probation include: adding or removing conditions, extending the length of your probation, or terminating your probation and resentencing you.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Violation of Probation hearing in NJ?
Going into a Violation of Probation hearing alone can leave you stressed and unprepared. With so much on the line—including the possibility of resentencing— you want to make sure your rights are protected and your defense is well-argued by an experienced criminal defense lawyer. At Proetta & Oliver, our distinguished criminal defense attorneys have handled countless Violation of Probation hearings and appeals in Hudson County and across New Jersey. If you are facing a probation violation in NJ, we are thoroughly prepared to fight on your behalf. Call (201) 793-8018 or contact us online to arrange your free consultation.