What Happens if You Violate the Terms of Your Probation in New Mexico?
Probation is nothing that you should take lightly. In fact, the courts are granting you permission to forgo your jail sentence and be released back into society. But, probation isn’t a right; it is a privilege. If you violate the terms of your probation, you could easily be sent back to jail for not only the duration of your probation period, but additional time for your violation. Often, when you are released on probation, you are given a set of multiple tasks that you must follow – and a violation of even one of those could result in your being sent back to jail.
How Do You Violate the Terms of Probation?
Probation can be easily violated – especially if you do not pay attention to all requirements given to you by the courts. Generally, your violation will occur if you ignore, avoid, or refuse to listen to the terms of your probation – which are clearly given to you at sentencing as well as from your probation officer. Probation periods can last anywhere from six months to as many as a few years – depending on the crime you were convicted of.
There are numerous ways in which you could violate your probation, including:
- Not appearing to scheduled court dates
- Not reporting on time to your probation officer
- Not paying any restitution or fines that you were required to pay by the court
- Visiting people or places that you were prohibited from as part of your probation
- Leaving the state without permission
- Possessing or using illegal drugs
- Having a positive drug or alcohol test
- Committing another crime
- Getting arrested for another offense (even if you are not convicted)
What Happens if You Violate?
If you do violate your probation, there are a few ways that your probation officer can handle it. It will depend on the severity of the violation, what term was violated, and if you have a past history of violations. Some things that may occur include:
- A warning or request to appear in court. Your probation officer may report the violation to the courts and you will then be required to appear in front of a judge. This is an informal hearing where the judge will listen to the probation officer, and then you will have a chance to speak. He or she will then determine if the violation warrants a revocation of probation, or if you will be allowed to continue on probation with additional terms.
- Warning from the probation officer. In some cases, your probation officer may give you an official warning, which he or she will keep in the files. If you were to make the same violation or another violation in the future, the officer may proceed to harsher penalties.
- Sentencing. If you are found guilty of a probation violation, you may face an extended probation or could serve a brief period in jail as part of your punishment. Sometimes, the courts will release you again on probation, but with even harsher terms – ones that could be easily violated again if you are not extremely cautious.
You Have Legal Rights – Even When You Are on Probation
While you may be in violation of your probation, you still have rights. You can speak in front of a judge at your hearing and state your case – which could potentially lessen the punishment. You will want to speak with an attorney regarding your probation violation as soon as possible. An attorney can help evaluate the seriousness of that violation and determine the best defense, so that you can possibly avoid jail time.