Ventura Probation Violation Lawyer
When a defendant is convicted and placed on probation in California, he or she typically avoids incarceration. However, in exchange for avoiding a jail sentence or prison time, the person on probation is expected to comply with certain rules, which can be very strict. If the person fails to do this, and violates his or her conditions of probation, there can be serious criminal consequences.
If you or one of your family members was charged with a probation violation in Ventura, California or Santa Barbara County, you urgently need guidance and support from an aggressive and experienced criminal defense attorney. Skilled legal representation can make the difference between keeping your liberty and going to prison. Do not wait to seek legal help if you or a loved one was accused of violating probation in California. Call the Ventura County probation attorneys of Bamieh & De Smeth immediately at (805) 643-5555.
Reasons You Can Be Arrested for a Probation Violation in California
Probation should not be confused with parole. Parole is early release from prison, while probation generally takes the place of incarceration.
There are two types of probation in California:
- Formal Probation – Formal probation is sometimes sentenced for a felony offense. It generally lasts from three to five years.
- Summary Probation – Summary probation is sometimes sentenced for a misdemeanor offense, and is also referred to as informal probation. It generally lasts from one to three years, though in some cases may last for up to five years.
Regardless of whether the underlying offense was a felony or a misdemeanor, formal or summary probation in California typically allows an offender to stay out of prison or jail. While this is greatly preferable to being incarcerated, probation still limits certain freedoms, and the person who is on probation must obey numerous rules and conditions. If the person violates even a single condition of probation, at any time, he or she can face severe penalties, which are explained in the next section.
There are many reasons a person can be arrested for violating probation in Ventura County or Santa Barbara County. Some common examples of California probation violations include, but are not limited to:
- Allegedly committing a new crime while on probation in California.
- Failing to appear in court, which is also known as “bail-jumping.”
- Failing to attend court-ordered programs or counseling sessions.
- Failing to pay fines and/or restitution.
- Failing to report to a probation officer.
Do I Need a Defense Attorney for My Probation Revocation or Violation Hearing?
Representation by a criminal lawyer is absolutely vital if you have been accused of a probation violation in Ventura County or Santa Barbara County, because a violation can have serious consequences regardless of the underlying offense for which probation was originally sentenced. This is especially true of major violations, such as committing a felony while on probation. If the defendant is found to have violated his or her conditions of probation, he or she can be sentenced to prison, forfeiting all the freedoms he or she worked hard to keep in the first place.
In most criminal cases, a jury reviews the evidence for and against the defendant in order to make a determination about his or her guilt. A unanimous finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is necessary in order for the defendant to be convicted. If even a single juror disagrees, there is a “hung jury,” and the trial will either be declared a mistrial, the case will be dismissed, or, depending on the situation, the defendant may accept a plea bargain.
By comparison, at a probation hearing, the judge is the trier of fact who makes the determination about the defendant’s guilt or innocence. Moreover, the standard of proof is less stringent than it is in a criminal trial, which makes it simpler for the prosecutor to prove that a violation occurred. If the judge determines that the defendant violated probation as alleged, the following consequences may result:
- The length of probation may be extended.
- The terms and conditions of probation may become stricter and more demanding.
- Probation may be revoked altogether.
- The defendant can be sentenced to jail or prison.
Experienced California Criminal Lawyers Handling Probation Charges in Ventura County
Due to the risk of incarceration and other serious penalties, as well as the lowered standard of proof in probation hearings, it is critically important that you or your loved one is represented by a knowledgeable Ventura probation attorney in all revocation hearing matters. It is not in your best interests to attempt to represent yourself.
At The Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC, our trusted and respected team of Santa Barbara probation lawyers brings over 22 years of combined experience to every case, making us eminently qualified to handle even highly complex felony matters related to alleged probation violations. We handle cases throughout Santa Barbara County and Ventura County, including but not limited to Santa Maria, Oxnard, Lompoc, Thousand Oaks, Goleta, Simi Valley, and other communities.
If you or a family member was charged with violating conditions of probation in California, we urge you to call our law offices immediately at (805) 643-5555 for a free legal consultation. We will keep your information confidential.