Remember from our last blog that probation is an active jail sentence on pause for a certain period of time while you are ordered to do certain things and ordered not to do certain other things. If you don’t do what you’re supposed to do, or you do things you’re not supposed to do, then a violation report will be filed and you will be in violation of your probation. This applies whether you’re on supervised or unsupervised probation. The only difference is that on supervised probation, the probation officer files the violation(s) and sets a court date to hear it, and on unsupervised probation it’s either the clerk, the delayed payment office, or the community service office that generally file the violation reports.
Not all violations are created equal. There are a million ways to violate your probation, but only TWO kinds of violations authorize a judge to activate your paused jail sentence and send you to jail for that full amount of time. These are called revocable offenses and they are: (1) new criminal convictions; and (2) absconding.
The whole idea of being on probation is to behave yourself. If a judge is nice enough to put you on probation and not send you to jail, the last thing you want to do is go out and commit some more crimes while you’re on that probation. Being charged with a new crime is not enough to count as a violation. However, if you plead guilty or are found guilty of a crime committed while you are on probation, then the judge can send you to jail for the full jail sentence that was on pause.
The other violation that is an immediate GO TO JAIL card is absconding. In English, that means to disappear and make it all but impossible for your probation officer to find you. For example, if you change your address and your phone number and don’t tell either one to your officer, then proceed to attend zero appointments, you’ve probably absconded. There is no practical way for them to find you at that point. What does and does not count as absconding gets tricky and lots of legal arguments are involved. If you’re alleged to have absconded, give me a call. I got you covered.
The million other kinds of probation violations are called technical violations. Technical violations include things like not paying all the money you owe; missing a few appointments; testing positive; missing court-ordered classes; etc… Usually, technical violations do not send you to jail. Usually. Unless they are egregious, technical violations generally result in you either just continuing on your probation, or in you getting MORE probation.
However, if your probation officer decides your behavior is especially unfortunate – say you miss more appointments than you attend, never answer your phone, and test positive for drugs every time you’re there – they may ask the judge for a punishment called a CRV: Confinement in Response to Violation. In English that means you’re going to jail. The length of time you go to jail is up to the judge. For misdemeanors, a judge can order you to serve an active sentence for any amount of days up to the total number you were ordered to do to begin with, but not exceeding 90 days. So, if you’re paused jail sentence is 150 days, the judge cannot give you more than a 90-day CRV. When a judge can’t revoke you but is hoppin’ mad at you, they’ll CRV you for the full time of your sentence (up to 90 days). So let’s say you got a 45-day sentence paused and you violated it with a technical violation. You’re thinking you’re good because it’s not a revocable offense. But no! The judge gives you a 45-day CRV. Really they shouldn’t be allowed to do that, but that’s a rant for another blog. For now, just know that they do do that from time to time.
If you’re on probation for a felony, as opposed to a misdemeanor, then the judge has no discretion for the length of a CRV. It’s 90 days. Period. That’s the only CRV option.
What happens at the end of the CRV? That depends. Sometimes a judge makes it terminal, meaning that whatever amount of time you spend in jail is the end of your case. When you walk out of jail, you are no longer on probation and the case is over. If the judge enters a non-terminal CRV, then you go to jail for whatever amount of time, come out, and you’re right back on probation.
There are lots and lots of tricky, sticky issues with probation violations, especially if you have more than one charge or more than one case of probation. For a FREE consultation on how to handle your probation violation in Forsyth and the surrounding counties, call Kerri at Payne Law, PLLC. She’s handled hundreds of probation violations in her years of experience – she’s got you covered.