In San Diego a defendant can be sentenced to serve a term of formal probation in lieu of a prison term if convicted of a felony offense. Often referred to as “felony probation”, the conditions are strict and a violation typically comes with serious consequences.
Felony probation typically lasts for three to five years in California. A defendant who is placed on felony probation is essentially allowed to serve a sentence in the community under tight supervision instead of in prison. Felony probation comes with a list of conditions, such as:
- Weekly or monthly appointments with a probation officer
- Drug testing for alcohol and drugs
- Participation in counseling, therapy, or classes
- Payment of fines, costs, and restitution
- Completion of community service work
- Consent to search you and/or where you live
- Agreement not to break any additional laws
The last condition is one of the more serious conditions of felony probation. Understandably, judges tend to look unfavorably on probationers who commit another criminal offense while on probation. If you receive a notice to appear on a new charge this means you have been accused of a new criminal offense. Because the terms of your probation include a condition that you do not commit a new offense, the notice to appear will likely cause a probation violation to be filed. Of course, you have not yet been convicted of the new offense; however, the fact that you have been accused will not sit well with your probation officer or the court.
If you are ultimately found to have violated the terms of your felony probation by having been convicted of a new offense, the sentencing just could do one of three things. The judge could decide to simply scold you and continue you on probation with no changes. This is an unlikely outcome unless you are convicted of a very minor offense with extenuating circumstances. The judge could also decide to continue your probation but with modifications. You could be revoked and ordered to spend a short time in the county jail, for instance. Finally, the judge could revoke your probation and consider imposing up to the maximum sentence for your crime.
If you are on felony probation in San Diego and are informed you have new charges pending, consult with an experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney right away.