When charged with a crime that carries jail time, you may ultimately be able to get probation instead. Probation is an alternative to incarceration that allows an individual to serve out his or her sentence in the community under the supervision of a probation officer instead of in a prison or jail. If you violate the terms of your probation in any way, there is a chance that you could end up back in jail. If you have violated your probation and need to speak to an attorney, talk to the Atlantic City probation violation lawyers at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych.
Common Probation Conditions in New Jersey
It is important for you to understand the terms and conditions of probation, and to establish a professional rapport with your probation officer (PO). Making every effort to comply with the terms of your probation is the best way to avoid resentencing and possible incarceration for a violation. The law governing probation in New Jersey is provided under Title 2C:45-1. Some common terms and conditions of probation include:
- Support dependents and meet family responsibilities
- Find and keep a job
- Go to school or seek job training
- Seek medical or psychological treatment
- Do not possess any deadly weapon or firearm unless granted written permission
- Stay in-state and inform your PO if you move
- Pay fines
- Perform community service
- Follow internet access restrictions
- Report to your probation officer as directed
- Submit to random drug and alcohol testing
- Notify your probation officer if you are arrested or issued a summons in any jurisdiction
- Live in a half-way house, if requested
- Satisfy any other conditions reasonably related to your rehabilitation that aren’t “unduly restrictive of [your] liberty or incompatible with [your] freedom of conscience”
- Keep away from people and locations known for crime
Violation of Probation Hearings in Atlantic City
If you violate one of the terms or conditions of probation, New Jersey law gives a probation officer the authority to arrest you without a warrant if they have probable cause of a violation. Your probation officer will then file a violation of probation (VOP) complaint with the court that summarizes your alleged violation. Once you are issued written notice, you will be scheduled for a VOP hearing. If you do not attend your hearing, the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. The court has the authority to hold you without bail while you await your hearing.
During the hearing, the judge has the option to impose “any sentence that might have been imposed originally” pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:45-3(b). This means triggering any jail term or fines you avoided by getting probation. There is no right to a trial by jury, and the violation needs to be proven only by “clear and convincing evidence,” not “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Basically, it is your word against your probation officer’s when you appear before a judge. This is why it is best to seek representation from an experienced defense attorney who can help you defend your case.
Penalties for a Probation Violation in NJ
If you are found guilty of violating the terms and conditions of your probation, the judge has several options for sentencing. These include:
- Extending the period of probation
- Terminating probation and sending you to jail/prison
- Continue probation with new/added conditions
- Resentence you for the original charges
If the judge decides to resentence you for your original charges, there is a possibility that you will be incarcerated. This is the case even when you served probation through a plea bargain.
Many times, an attorney can help negotiate the outcome. While jail is a possibility even for the slightest violation of your probation terms, a judge may be willing to give lesser punishments for lesser violations. If your violation was merely procedural, such as appearing late to a meeting with your PO, a judge may give more minor penalties. For violations like committing new crimes or fleeing the state, minor penalties may be harder to achieve, and you may be sent back to jail.
If a judge does not rule in your favor at the violation of probation hearing, you have the option to appeal that judgment. You can appeal the violation of probation finding, the sentencing, or both. After the culmination of the VOP hearing, you have forty-five days file your notice of appeal. An attorney can help file and argue the appeal, challenging the new sentence against you.
South Jersey Probation Violation Lawyers
The Atlantic City criminal defense attorneys at the law offices of John J. Zarych represent people accused of probation violations in Gloucester City, Atlantic City, and throughout South Jersey. If you have violated the terms and conditions of your probation and have received a violation of probation notice, it is vital that you contact an attorney to represent you at your VOP hearing. For a free consultation on your case, contact our attorneys today at (609) 616-4956.