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Being on probation or supervised release is a major responsibility, and stepping out of line for even a moment can have serious consequences. While you may know about some of the more grievous probation violations that put you at risk of jail time, there are many other errors that can place you in violation of your probation terms.

1. Committing Another Crime

One of the quickest ways to violate your probation and end up back in court is to commit a crime, or even be accused of committing another crime. As someone who is on probation/supervised release, you’re expected to walk a straight and narrow path. In many situations, getting arrested will immediately place you in violation of your probation terms. If this occurs, you will not only face penalties on the new law violation, but you’ll face penalties for the original case that you are on probation for.  The time in jail that you are facing on both cases could also potentially run consecutive, meaning you serve the time on the second case after completion of the sentence on the first case.

2. Not Working or Attending School

Depending on the terms of your probation, you might be required to maintain full-time employment or stay enrolled in an academic program. Skipping classes or calling out sick at work without a legitimate reason can make you noncompliant. You may have to have documentation of shifts worked or classes attended, so it’s important to be thoroughly informed of the conditions of your probation so as to avoid any misunderstandings later.

3. Missing a Court Date or a Meeting With Your Probation Officer

Your probation officer will explain what is expected of you when you first meet.  Making sure that you don’t miss any appointments in court or with your probation officer is very important.  Of course, missing a court date or meeting is a violation—however, showing up late can also put you in violation of your agreement. Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to arrive to meetings on time and keep track of all of your court appointments. Obviously things happen, so if you have a legitimate reason for missing a required meeting, you must have proof to provide to your probation officer.  

4. Failing to Meet Program or Treatment Requirements

Many probation agreements involve treatment for mental health issues, substance abuse disorders, or anger management. These courses are carefully tracked and logged by the court system. If you miss the deadline to sign up for a treatment program, miss a therapy session without prior notice and approval from your probation officer, or arrive late to appointments, your probation status could be in danger.

5. Testing Positive for Illegal or Controlled Substances

Regardless of whether you have a history of substance abuse issues or your conviction is related to the use of controlled substances, alcohol, or illegal drugs, you will still be required to drug test periodically during your supervision.  Failing to show up for a scheduled drug test is often treated the same as a positive result, so again, make sure you arrive on time for every single appointment. A positive test could lead to the revocation of your probation.

Probation is a second chance at freedom, but a small misstep could set you back or literally send you to prison. If you are facing a probation or supervised release violation, reach out to Puglisi Law at (305) 403-8063 and schedule a consultation now.