What Happens When You Violate Probation

Updated: Apr 29


While probation is a desirable alternative to prison, it's not easy. There are strict rules that you need to follow and there are typically harsh consequences for breaking those rules.


Some of the rules you may be required to follow include:

  • Community service

  • Finding employment

  • Taking frequent drug or alcohol tests

  • Paying restitution to victims or fines

  • Avoiding going to certain places or associating with certain people

  • Regularly meeting with a probation officer

  • Showing up for court

Once you have violated your probation, and your probation officer has required you to attend a violation hearing, the judge will then determine whether you violated your probation and what your penalty will be. If the judge decides to penalize you, depending on your circumstances, they may:

  • Extend your probation

  • Impose additional fines

  • Require you to attend counseling or a rehabilitation program

  • Or order you to spend a given amount of time in jail

In a probation violation hearing, the prosecutor will be require to prove that you did in fact violate the rules of your probation. You have the right to learn of any new charges brought against you. And you have the right to dispute them in your hearing. If you have been accused of violating your probation, don't wait to speak with an attorney. Know what your rights are and hire a competent attorney to defend them.


If you do violate probation, your probation officer has the discretion to let you off with a warning or send you to court. Therefore, build a good relationship with your probation officer.


Be aware: When you're on probation, you can now be searched without a warrant and traveling to other states or moving must be cleared by your probation officer. Take it seriously.


If you have violated probation, speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Don't wait. Your liberty may be at risk.