Those who are on probation or have been on probation know that it is a very serious matter. Probation is a substitute for prison, where you are monitored by a probation officer after you have been found guilty of a crime. With probation comes responsibility, rules, and conditions that must be followed in order to stay on probation.
There are two categories of violations of probation – technical and substantive. Understanding the differences between the two can better help you understand your personal charge and how to fight it.
A technical violation means that you have failed to complete certain conditions of your probation that a judge ordered. Judges make these decisions when deciding your case. These conditions might include an enforced curfew, meeting with your probation officer, getting and maintaining a job, enrolling and staying in school, not using, owning, buying, or selling any firearms, etc. Punishments for a technical violation are usually not severe. Most of the time the conditions of your parole will be modified, such as an earlier curfew or meeting with your probation officer more often, but you will not be kicked off parole and sent to prison. You should try to avoid any violation of probation; however, a technical violation is only a minor setback that will not have a huge impact on you if you can explain what happened and are apologetic throughout the situation.
Substantive violation means that you get charged with a new crime that occurred while you served your probation sentence. For example, any unrelated crime to the crime that you originally committed will constitute a new crime. Committing a crime will mean that you can get charged by the state and that you can face a new criminal court process, in addition to facing suspended penalties from your original case. This violation is worse and can lead to you losing your probation and having to serve time in prison.
If you are on probation, do your absolute best to follow the rules and meet the requirements of your probation. Probation can be a second chance, and you do not want to mess up that chance. Make sure you are familiar with every single condition you are expected to fulfill, and although this may be obvious, be smart and stay out of trouble!
However, if you have already been charged with a technical or substantive violation, it is in your best interest to contact an attorney. An attorney can help you figure out the best way to proceed with your situation as well as how to protect yourself.