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What Happens If You Violate Probation?

What Is Probation?

If you are placed on probation – also known as community supervision – by a judge, this means you are subject to a court-ordered period of supervision by the state. Instead of going to prison, individuals placed on probation are permitted to complete their sentence outside of jail and in their communities while under the supervision of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. In some cases, however, the court might withhold sentencing but still impose a probationary period in which you are subject to supervision by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

Typically, the court will order the individual on probation to adhere to a set of conditions. If you violate the terms of your probation, you may be placed on a probation hold and sent to jail or prison until the issue can be resolved. On the other hand, if you follow the rules set out for you during your probationary period, you will be free of the criminal justice system upon completion of your set probationary term.

What Are the Rules of Probation?

As it allows you to avoid losing your freedom and being placed behind bars, probation is a highly desirable alternative to prison time. In order to be placed on probation, however, you must agree to certain rules and regulations. The Department of Corrections has instituted a standard set of rules that generally apply to individuals on probation. These rules include:

  • Avoiding breaking the law.
  • Participate in any counseling offered.
  • Keep your agent informed of your whereabouts.
  • Submit a written monthly report to your agent.
  • Make yourself available for searches, including of your residence, property, computer, or cell phone.
  • Make yourself available for urine, breathalyzer, DNA, and blood tests.
  • Get approval from your agent before moving or changing jobs.
  • Get approval and a travel permit to leave the state of Wisconsin.
  • Get written approval before using or purchasing a vehicle.
  • Get approval to use credit.
  • Get approval to purchase, possess, own, or carry a firearm, ammunition, or any other weapon.
  • Pay any ordered fines and fees.

While the list of standard rules governing community supervision is extensive and can seem overwhelming, following these rules is imperative if you want to avoid a jail term. It is also important to remember that the conditions set by the court can vary from case to case. A judge may impose certain conditions for you to follow during your probationary period that are customized to the circumstances of your case. These can be in addition to or in lieu of any of the standard rules generally imposed.

In order to avoid inadvertently violating any of the terms of your probation, you should consult with an experienced criminal law attorney who can help you understand the rules that apply to your probationary period.

What Is a Probationary Hold?

If you violate the conditions of your probation, you will be placed on a probationary hold. Being placed on a probationary hold means you will be sent to jail until the matter is resolved. Your probation agent will review the offense, speak to you about what happened, and determine if in fact a violation was committed. There are then three primary methods of resolution:

  1. If you committed a minor offense or a violation was logged in error, the police might release you once a probation agent clears up the issue.
  2. If you are found to have committed a violation that warrants a revocation of your probation, your agent will notify you and you will be allowed a hearing where an administrative law judge will review your case. Instead of revoking your probation, a judge can decide to give you an alternative, which might include community service hours, anger management counseling, or jail time.
  3. Alternatively, the judge can revoke your probation, which means you will serve out the rest of your sentence in custody.

Although there is a five-business day limit on probationary holds, these holds can stretch for weeks or even months in practice. If you or a loved one is placed on probationary hold, it may be wise to hire an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to help advocate for leniency on your behalf and to help you resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

Whether you have been placed on probation or have been accused of a probation violation, it is important that you hire an attorney who will approach your case proactively. Attorney Cherella at the Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella is committed to helping his clients achieve the most favorable result possible.

Contact us online or at (414) 882-8382 to schedule a free case evaluation.