Probation is a better alternative than incarceration because you can serve your sentence while remaining in the community. Many prefer it because it allows them to maintain their job, family, and other responsibilities. In July 2021, Virginia made some significant changes to its probation laws that you need to know about. You should retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you obtain the benefits these new probation changes offer.
Two Changes to the Probation Laws in Virginia That May Affect Your Probation
Two significant changes to probation under the July 2021 law could affect you if you are placed on probation. They include the following new rules.
Maximum Term of Probation
Under the old law, the judge could sentence a defendant to probation for as long as they wanted. The new law limits how long a person can be sentenced to probation. The maximum sentences for probation are:
- Misdemeanor. An individual can be sentenced to a maximum of one year on probation.
- Felony. A person can be placed on probation for five years if convicted of a felony.
Technical Violations of Supervised Probation
Another significant change to Virginia's probation laws in 2021 is handling technical violations of supervised probation. Technical violations are minor violations of the terms and conditions of your probation, such as missing a meeting with your probation officer or failing to keep a job.
Under the old law, a technical violation could result in severe punishments, such as revoking your probation and sending you to jail. However, the new law allows judges to impose alternative sanctions for technical violations. They can now order you to attend counseling or drug treatment programs, perform community service, or impose other conditions instead of sending you to jail.
This significant change gives judges more options to address minor probation violations. It also allows you to remain in the community while still being held accountable for your actions.