What Happens When You Violate Probation In Louisiana
Are you wondering: what happens when you violate probation in Louisiana or anywhere else? This post will answer all of your questions.
Probation has long been an alternative to serving jail time in Louisiana. Upon conviction, or after a plea agreement, a judge can authorize probation for the defendant. For example, a sentence of five years in prison will be suspended for supervised probation.
Being placed on probation allows the person convicted to live their life under the supervision of the courts. This means, if convicted, you will have the opportunity to raise a family, work, and have a full life under certain limited restrictions.
Many people misunderstand probation as someone “getting out of trouble” when this is not the case. Having your life supervised by a probation officer for several years creates difficulty for many. In fact, as much as 16 percent of those under supervision will violate probation.
What Determines Probation
There is no set determination that requires anyone to receive probation. A judge has full authority over who receives community supervision. It is normally reserved for those who are first-time offenders and those not convicted of violent crimes. Excluding minor misdemeanor convictions, very rarely does someone receive probation after having a criminal record.
What Are the Restrictions On a Probationer
Before we can understand what happens when a person violates probation, we must first learn the restrictions a probationer agrees to. As we will see, probation is not easy for anyone with the stringent restrictions placed on them.
The things we take for granted in our lives, such as traveling outside of the state for a family vacation, now become complicated. Let’s look at some of the restrictions placed on probationers in Louisiana.
- Report to a probation officer once a month
- All child support obligations must be met
- Have gainful employment
- Permit a probation officer to make home visits
- May not own firearms
- Make restitution as designated by the court
- Refrain from associating with convicted criminals
- Must have permission to change addresses or employment
- Learn to read English if not able to
- Perform community service as prescribed by the court
- Submit to drug, alcohol, and mental fitness testing
- Arrests and convictions may negate probation
These are only a handful of restrictions for someone on probation in the state of Louisiana. Add the above restrictions with fines, court costs, and years of probation fees and you see how probation can lead to frustration. Overall most people choose probation over the alternative and deal with the limits placed on them.
How People Get Probation Violations
Probation violations occur for several different reasons. All of them occur based on the rules and restrictions of probation. Here are a few reasons people violate probation.
- Fines & Restitution: Out of all of the violations imposed on probationers, this may be the most common. Most parishes in Louisiana count on fees derived from court cases to fund the system. Probationers who get behind on payment quickly learn they need to keep up with their fees and restitution payments
- Failure to Report: You would think that reporting to a probation officer is not difficult to maintain; however, many violators dread the appointments with their supervisor and don’t show up. Not reporting will result in a violation.
- Failing a Drug Test: Failing a drug test and other drug related crimes is almost always going to be a probation violation. This may explain why some probationers do not report on some occasions out of fear of failing a test.
- Leaving the Area: Those who abscond permanently or even others who do not report traveling out of state to their probation officer will find themselves in violation of probation.
- Skipping Community Service: A large portion of agreeing to probation is a promise to give back to the community with service. When you do not show after promising the court or get behind on your hours, it’s a quick way to draw a judge’s attention.
This isn’t a complete list, as other missed requirements will result in a violation. As you can see, however, the list is extensive.
What Happens When You Violate Probation
Probation violations only add to a probationer’s troubles. If you already have felony charges, this certainly won’t make life easier!
The state of Louisiana has several possible outcomes when a person violates their probation. Upon a violation, a judge will issue a warrant for the violator’s arrest. Once brought into jail, the probationer may have to wait several days or weeks before taken in front of a judge. Once the violators standing before a judge for the probation hearing, they will receive one of the following:
- Finish out the remainder of your sentence in jail or prison
- Additional fines
- Receive counseling
- Added community service
- A warning
What to Do If You Are Arrested for a Probation Violation
If you find yourself arrested and facing a probation hearing, you have the right to defend yourself in these proceedings. Make sure to hire an experienced attorney who has handled probation violations in the past.
The chance of getting a warning and having to serve out a 5-year sentence is not worth the risk of not having a lawyer to represent you in the hearing. Remember, the judge has full discretion over your case, and you don’t want to have your probation suspended only because he or she is in a bad mood that day.
What to Look For in An Attorney
If you currently don’t have a local attorney where your hearing will take place, find one. Local attorneys are familiar with the local court system and the people who run them. Second, make sure the lawyer you hire has a criminal defense background and has experience in probation hearings.
Probation is tough, but serving time in jail or prison is much harder. When you decide to accept probation for a conviction, make sure you think out all of the responsibilities you will have going forward. There are several requirements you will face, and not everyone makes it out without a violation.
If you find yourself in trouble due to a probation violation, seek help and hire an attorney who knows their way around a courtroom and will look out for your interests. The Barkemeyer Law Firm are the best local attorneys who can help you with your probation violation.
We hope you now know what happens when you violate probation and wish you the best of luck!