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What Happens When You Violate Probation in NJ

Legal Blog

Did you violate probation in NJ? If you were convicted of a crime in the state of New Jersey and the judge has sentenced you to a period of probation, there will be a list of rules you must follow. Break even one of them, and you will violate your probation. Violating probation in New Jersey can bring on new troubles depending on how severe your violation was.

What is Probation?

Probation is a period of court-ordered supervision. The court may give you probation in place of jail time or following time served. During your probationary period, you will have to follow a list of rules created by the judge to help you remain in good standing with the court and stay on the straight and narrow. Some of these rules may be:

  • Regular visits with an assigned probation officer
  • Drug and alcohol treatment
  • Periodic drug tests
  • Staying employed
  • Not going outside a designated geographic area
  • Curfew
  • Payment of fines or restitution
  • Submitting to a search without a warrant
  • Taking special classes
  • Registering as a sex offender if your crime was sexual
  • Installing an interlock device on your vehicle if you’ve had multiple DUI convictions
  • Community service
  • Avoiding people or places where crimes may take place
  • No contact or ownership of weapons
  • Not committing any other crimes or infractions while on probation

What’s the Difference Between Probation and Parole?

Probation is different from parole. Probation, as described above, is usually imposed as a replacement for incarceration or in conjunction with a relatively short sentence. Parole is a conditional release from prison. During this time, the parolee must follow strict guidelines or go back to jail to serve out the rest of his or her sentence. The restrictions and obligations for parole are often similar to those imposed for probation. The state requires convicts on parole to attend periodic meetings with a parole officer.

While on parole, an ankle bracelet may be mandatory as a tracking device to let the authorities know where you are at all times.  This is also called “house arrest.” It can be imposed as the sentence itself or as part of a parole requirement.

What Happens When You Violate Probation in NJ?

New Jersey probation violations are initially handled by probation officers, who will file a VOP (Violation of Probation) complaint with the court. This complaint will explain what the violation was in detail. A court hearing will be held if a VOP has been filed against you. The court will issue a warrant for your arrest if you fail to attend this hearing.

The judge will listen to your explanation of the probation officer’s complaint and decide if it indeed was a violation of probation. If the judge determines that you did not violate probation in NJ, then you will likely be free to go, perhaps with a warning.

On the other hand, if the judge finds you guilty of probation violation, he or she will likely impose a penalty. Penalties for violating your parole are usually based on the severity of the violation and the circumstances.

The judge may rule to continue your current probationary period with newly added conditions you must follow. Another scenario is the possibility of an extended probationary period with the same conditions.

If the judge sees fit, it’s also possible that he or she could resentence you for your original criminal offense. This could happen even if there were a plea deal in place. There is also the possibility of new jail time. If your probation violation was because of a new crime you committed, a new sentence is likely.

What Should You Do When You Have Violated Probation?

Most people who violate probation in NJ get into trouble by using intoxicants like alcohol or drugs, hanging out with old friends who are also known offenders, or traveling outside of the designated probation zone. If you have had a violation of probation filed against you, get in touch with an attorney as soon as you can.

You should have a criminal defense lawyer with you in court on the day of the hearing to help plead your case to the judge. Contact an attorney who is experienced in New Jersey probation violation cases to help present your case to the judge and put you in the best possible light.

New Jersey criminal defense attorney Douglas Herring has an extensive record of successfully defending probation violation cases. As a former state and federal prosecutor, Mr. Herring understands the inner workings of the judicial system and can build the strong defense you need to represent you at your violation of parole hearing. Call the Law Offices of Douglas Herring today at 609-201-0155 for a free consultation. Don’t go into your VOP hearing alone. Call now and get the legal support you need.

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