What happens if you violate probation?

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Law Office of Caroline Norman Frost

Annapolis, MD

When you are placed on probation you will be given conditions you must abide by. There are a wide range of conditions that a judge can order. Following the sentencing court’s ordered conditions of probation is paramount to not being violated and potentially going back to jail. It’s possible for a judge to revoke your probation if you do not abide by the conditions of your probation. There is a difference between a technical violation of probation and a non-technical violation of probation. Technical violations are considered less serious less than non-technical violations.

Technical violation of probation

Several years ago, the Justice Reinvestment Act (“JRA”) took place and changed violation of probation penalties in Maryland. Consequently, now there is a “presumptive cap” on the length of time a defendant can receive for a technical violation of probation. A technical violation is failure to comply with a special condition of your probation that did not result in a new criminal charge, violating a no contact order, or not reporting to your agent. This could be as minor as showing up a few minutes late to your appointment with your probation officer. Other examples of technical probation violations are failure to pay criminal restitution, missing a drug addiction treatment session, testing positive for a controlled dangerous substance, and a failure to notify your probation officer of a change of address.

If you have committed a technical violation of your probation, then your probation officer will most likely submit a report to the court informing the court that you have violated you probation. This could result in your arrest without bond. You might have an opportunity to prevent your arrest, although it will depend on your situation. If you are aware that a warrant is out for your arrest, Caroline Norman Frost can file a Motion to Quash Arrest Warrant on your behalf.

Penalties for technical violation of probation

Your first technical violation has a maximum sentence (presumptive cap) of 15 days. A second technical violation carries a 30-day sentence maximum sentence, and third offenses have a maximum punishment of 45 days. A fourth technical violation of probation can result in receiving the entirety of your back-up time (entire portion of jail time that was suspended at the initial sentencing of the underlying criminal case that you were on probation for). These penalties (presumptive caps) are not binding on a judge. The judge can impose harsher penalties if they make other findings including but not limited to, danger to the community. Generally, judges will abide by the presumptive cap for technical violations.

Non-technical violation of probation

If you break the law while you’re on probation, the new charge will be considered a non-technical violation of your probation. Some examples of non-technical violations include, new charges, new convictions, contacting someone you were ordered not to contact, and absconding (failing to report to your agent more than a couple times). Also, keep in mind that if you are charged with a domestic assault, this will be considered a non-technical violation of probation. Law enforcement will most likely arrest you and you most likely will be held without bail. Then you will have a bail review. You should contact Caroline Norman Frost so that she can be present at your bail review and coordinate pre-trial release (house-arrest) prior to the bail review. She will ask the court for you to be released with an ankle monitor while you await your violation of probation hearing date instead of sitting in jail until the hearing.

Penalties for non-technical violation of probation

With a non-technical violation, you can receive the entirety of your back-up time (entire suspended sentence). Also, even if you are not found guilty of a new charge, or it is dismissed, a prosecutor can provide evidence to the court that you failed to obey a law and convince the court that you have violated your probation in a “non-technical” manner. The State is allowed to do this because you do not have the same rights at a violation of probation hearing that you do at a criminal trial. The burden of proof that the State must meet is lower (preponderance of the evidence, not beyond a reasonable doubt).
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