What are the Possible Consequences of a Felony Probation Violation?
The consequences of a felony probation violation can run the gamut from a possible violation and continuation of probation to a complete revocation of probation and activation of a suspended sentence. Often times there are factual disputes involved in a probation violation allegation; having an attorney, whether retained or appointed, is essential!
Quick Dip or CRV?
For most violations a "quick dip" (short stay in the county jail) or a "CRV" (revocation of 90 days of the suspended sentence, short for "confinement in response to violation) are the worst possible sanctions. However, if there are multiple prior CRVs, a probationer has a new criminal violation, or a charge of absconding is sustained, the balance of a suspended sentence may be revoked. For many people on felony probation, this can add up to several months in jail.
In certain circumstances the "suspended" sentence can be activated, and the probationer will go to jail. This is bad. However, you can only have your suspended sentence activated for one of three violations: absconding, new criminal law violation, or after two CRV's.
Absconding is factually specific, and potentially defensible. It is defined as "willfully avoiding supervision or by willfully making the defendant's whereabouts unknown to the supervising probation officer, if the defendant is placed on supervised probation. I always advise that probationers document all their contacts and attempts to contact their probation officer, as well as all other efforts to comply with the conditions of probation.
New Criminal Law Violation
A new criminal law violation need not be proven by a conviction. Theoretically, prosecutors can establish a violation through evidence or testimony sufficient to satisfy the judge that the violation happened. As a practical matter, at least in Wake County, the prosecutors tend to not proceed on these violations until there is a conviction on the new criminal charge. To do otherwise is a little sticky, in my opinion, and raises questions of due process.
Two Prior CRV's
A defendant who has had two prior "confinement in response to violation" 90 day revocations may have the remainder of their suspended sentence revoked upon proof of a new violation. Whether this in fact should happen is subject to judicial discretion. Regardless, someone who has already had two 90 day revocations should work very hard to keep their probation officer happy or risk completion of probation via imprisonment.
What can a lawyer do for me?
The early intervention of an attorney can help lead to drastically better outcomes of an alleged probation violation. Communication with probation officers can be helpful. Immediate actions to rectify any outstanding problems are almost always well received by the court. Although often times it can seem like fate is sealed when facing a probation violation, we have experience obtaining additional time to comply with probation, assisting clients with early termination of probation, and securing no sanctions or greatly reduced sanctions for a violation allegation.
Give us a call to discuss probation violation allegations pending in Wake County Superior Court. We offer free consultations in criminal cases.