What Happens if I Violate My Probation in North Carolina?
Many people are shocked to learn how hard it can be to adhere to the terms of their probation. What can start out feeling like a huge relief can end up feeling like a stressful full-time job. While it may be hard, and in some cases, even impossible, to adhere to the terms and conditions of your probation, failing to do so can have serious consequences. If you believe you may have violated the terms of your probation, or that your probation officers suspect that you might have, the best course of action is to contact an attorney as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to overcome these charges.
Violations of Probation
There are two types of violations to one's probation. First, there are technical violations. These are violations of the actual terms specified by your probation. Examples of technical probation violations include things like falling out of communication with your probation officer (also known as absconding), failing a mandated drug or alcohol test, or possessing a firearm. Substantive violations, on the other hand, occur when an additional law is broken or another crime is committed, outside of the one that you were initially charged with and which lead to your probation. You do not have to receive any kind of warning prior to being arrested for a violation of these terms. It is common for individuals to be arrested at appointments with their probation officer, particularly if they fail a drug or alcohol test while they are there. Additionally, while the terms of your probation are set at the time of your sentencing, your probation officer may add more terms as needed, which you can also be held accountable for violating.
Probation Violation Hearing
After you are arrested on charges of violating your probation you will be incarcerated. Unlike normal criminal trials, you are not eligible to be released on bond while you await your probation violation hearing or your sentencing. You will also not be subject to the same rights and privileges that you had in criminal court when you were initially tried. Because you have already been convicted and sentenced, this will be considered a civil matter. This means that the prosecution has a much lower bar to meet in order to convict you than they would in criminal court. In criminal court, the prosecution must establish beyond a reasonable doubt (the highest evidentiary standard) that you committed the crime with which you were charged. While in the event of a probation violation hearing, they must only prove it more likely than not that a probation violation occurred. Unlike criminal court, hearsay is also permitted and you can be compelled to testify against yourself.
Contact Coastal South Law
If you are charged with violating the terms of your probation in North Carolina, the consequences could be significant. The best thing that you can do is contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Coastal South Law and schedule a consultation.