If you’ve been fortunate enough to receive probation instead of a jail sentence in Arizona, then it is imperative that you abide by the court-ordered rules ascribed to you. Generally, those who are given probation must fulfill community service obligations, limit excessive alcohol, and refrain from using any form of illegal drugs. Most importantly, probation also may include appearing at court during your scheduled appearances. However, there are punishments for violating probation in Arizona. We’ll cover those here.
Failure to abide by probation is common, but those who do so should realize that there are a series of serious outcomes that can occur for those who violate their probation. To keep yourself informed and to ensure you understand the law, below are punishments for probation violations in Arizona.
What Constitutes Violating Probation in Arizona?
There are a number of circumstances that constitute a probation violation. The state most commonly alleges that the violator:
- Failed to appear in court for a scheduled court appearance;
- Used, possessed, or sold illegal substances;
- Failed to pay court imposed fines or restitution to victims;
- Traveled out of state, visited certain places, or met with certain people without the consent of the probation officer;
- Arrested for another offense or crime; and
- Failing to report whereabouts to probation officer, when required.
If you have been accused of the above violations or others, the court may take a number of actions. The action typically depends upon the discretion of the probation officer, the severity of the violation, and whether the violation was a first offense or not.
The least common but most desirable outcome when you violate your probation is a warning by the probation officer. If the violation is your first violation and the officer does not believe that the violation was severe, they might warn you and notify you that a future infraction will lead to a probation violation hearing, which will require you to appear in court and face more severe consequences.
Petition to Revoke Probation and Arraignment
If the probation officer believes that the defendant’s violation was severe, then the probation department can petition the court for a petition to revoke probation. The rules governing the petition to revoke probation are described in A.R.S. Rules Crim.Proc., Rule 27.8.
Before the arraignment, the defendant must receive a summons notice to appear in court. At the hearing, the judge will go over the violations. If the defendant does not admit or an admission is not accepted, the court schedules a violation hearing. During the hearing, the probation officer needs to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that a violation took place. If the court determines that true violation took place, a disposition hearing is scheduled where the court will issue one of three possible outcomes to the defendant: revocation, modification, or continuance.
Revocation of Probation
Revocation is the most severe outcome that can occur at the disposition hearing. The rules for revocation are identified in A.R.S. 13-901. Under this statute, if the defendant is serving more than one probationary term concurrently, the court may sentence the person to the terms of imprisonment to be served consecutively. On the other hand, if the defendant’s probation included serving a one year jail sentence and the defendant is on lifetime probation after that jail period, the court can require that the defendant be jailed for an additional term at whatever time.
In other instances, the judge may simply sentence you to the corresponding prison sentence that you would have gotten, save for the probation. If the defendant believes that the probation was unjustly revoked, the defendant’s lawyer can appeal the decision.
During the appeal process, the defense attorney will need to prove to the appeals court that the revocation was “arbitrary and unsupported by any theory of evidence.” In addition, it is important to keep in mind that if the defendant fails to raise issues at the initial probation hearing, the court will consider those issues waived. For this reason, it is imperative to retain a defense attorney that specializes in this area.
Modification in the Form of Extension
The second possibility that can occur at the probation disposition is modification. The modification can include adding conditions and extending the probation sentence. In order to extend a defendant’s probation, the court must provide the defendant with proper notice that ensures that due process requirements have been met. If the defendant was convicted for a felony, then the probation period can be extended for up to five years. If the defendant was convicted of a misdemeanor, the probation period can be extended for up to two years.
The final outcome is a potential continuance. For this option, the court will simply continue the current probation period, despite the violation. This is the most desirable outcome since the defendant will need to simply continue to carry out the terms of the probation.
How a Lawyer Can Help
If you have been charged with violating your probation in Arizona, or are facing a probation hearing, then one of the most beneficial steps that you can take is to hire a defense attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in probation violation. A defense attorney will be able to discuss the basis of your violation and the reasoning behind your noncompliance.
Once those determinations are made, the defense attorney will try to resolve the matter with the probation officer or prosecutor. If the situation is already at the hearing stage, the defense attorney will be able to defend your interests and assert certain defenses that may mitigate the severity of the outcome.
Tyler Allen Law Firm
Facing a probation violation is a serious matter with a lot at stake. If you have been accused of a probation violation in Phoenix, a defense attorney can assess your situation and provide you with the quality defense that you need. At Tyler Allen Law Firm, our dedicated professionals provide your case with the due care that it deserves and work to defended you in every way possible when it comes to your probation violations. Contact us today to consult with one of our professionals.