North Carolina Probation Violations

Old Rowan County NC Post Office & Federal Courthouse

In North Carolina, probation is a form of punishment for a criminal conviction. Probation is an alternative punishment to being
sentenced to go to jail or prison. Probation can be supervised or unsupervised. For the purposes of this article we will discuss the more serious of the two, which is supervised probation. When a person is sentenced to supervised probation they are assigned a probation officer. Their probation officer will ensure compliance with the terms of probation and schedule routine checkins with the person who is on probation. Unfortunately, many people who are on probation end up with a probation violation and will need a probation lawyer.

What are the Terms of Probation?

The terms and conditions of probation in North Carolina can vary from person to person. Some of the most common conditions of supervised probation include:

  • Community service
  • Restitution
  • Drug treatment
  • Mental health treatment
  • Behavioral courses such as batters intervention programs, or anger management
  • Fines such as court costs, and probation supervision fees
  • Electronic monitoring also known as "house arrest"
  • Drug testing
  • Relinquishing gun rights.

The length of probation is set by a judge when a person is convicted of a crime. For example, if a person is convicted of larceny a judge may state the following "The defendant is guilty, and shall be imprisoned for 90 days in jail. The term of imprisonment is suspended for 24 months of probation." This means that the defendant does not have to go to jail instead he will be on probation for 24 months. Usually, the defendant will only go to jail if he has violated his probation.

Violating Probation

If you are accused of violating your probation, in North Carolina, you need a probation violation lawyer. As an experienced criminal defense attorney Ryan Stowe can help you with your North Carolina probation violation. Every person who is accused of violating their probation is entitled to a probation hearing in either district court or superior court. Anytime a probation violation is alleged your liberty is at stake and you need a probation lawyer.

What Happens at a Probation Violation Hearing?

At your probation violation hearing the prosecutor must prove that you willfully (purposely or without valid excuse) violated your probation. For example, one of the most common probation conditions for a DWI conviction is substance abuse treatment. If you are accused of not completing the substance abuse treatment your probation lawyer will likely help to highlight the reasons not completing the treatment wasn't willful. During your probation violation hearing your probation officer will testify as to your conduct, and if they believe your actions were willful. One of the most common probation violations across all convictions are monetary. This means usually that the defendant owes money for either court costs and fines, probation supervision fees, or restitution.

Consequences of Violating Probation

The most serious consequence of a North Carolina probation violation is revocation. Revocation means that the defendant will now go to jail and serve the entire suspended sentence. In using our earlier example, if the person on probation for a larceny conviction gets his probation revoked, he will go to jail for 90 days. In that example, the suspended sentence was for 90 days. Another consequence of violating probation is being held in criminal contempt. Criminal contempt is a period of incarceration for no more than 30 days. A judge can also modify your probation to either end your probation early or can extend your probation. There are a few other consequences for violating probation most of which include some period of jail time. The best way to avoid jail time or a probation revocation is to hire a probation lawyer if a probation violation is alleged.

When facing a probation violation, it is important to act fast! Contact Ryan Stowe if you are charged with a probation violation.