What is probation?

If you plead guilty or are found guilty at a trial in Virginia, you will be sentenced to a punishment for your crime by a judge. One alternative to being incarcerated in jail or prison is to be placed on probation. If you are hoping to be sentenced to probation, it is important to understand the basic rules you must follow since you could face harsh consequences if you violate the terms of your probation.

Two Types of Probation in Virginia

Probation Officer With HandcuffsProbation is only granted for less serious offenses in our state. When you are sentenced to probation, you will not have to go to jail or prison. Instead, the judge would place you on probation for a specific length of time. During this period, you would be expected to follow certain rules. There are two types of probation in Virginia:

  • Unsupervised. If you are sentenced to unsupervised probation, you would not be assigned to a probation officer. Your case would be suspended for a period of time when you must comply with basic rules, such as not committing other crimes, paying fines as part of your punishment, or other conditions set by the judge.
  • Supervised. Your case would be assigned to a probation officer, who you would need to meet with at scheduled appointments either in-person or by telephone. You would also have more stringent rules that you would need to follow.

What Rules Could You Be Required to Follow While You Are on Probation?

The specific rules you would be required to follow will depend on the crime you committed, your prior criminal record, and other factors. Some requirements of probation could include:

  • Attending meetings with your probation officer at scheduled times
  • Not possessing a firearm
  • Not committing any other criminal offenses
  • Not consuming alcohol or controlled substances
  • Not leaving the Commonwealth of Virginia without court permission
  • Keeping a job or maintaining enrollment in college or other job training program
  • Paying fines and court costs by a date set by the judge
  • Submitting to alcohol and/or drug tests
  • Consenting to be searched even if there is no probable cause to search you
  • Completing a certain number of hours of community service

What Happens If You Violate the Terms of Your Probation?

You could face harsh consequences if you violate the terms of your probation. If the violation is minor and this is a first offense, your probation officer could issue you a warning. However, if there are multiple or serious violations, you could face a number of punishments, such as an extension of the time you are on probation, being ordered to jail for a short period of time, or having your probation revoked and being sentenced to prison or jail.

Have you been arrested in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk area? Our experienced criminal defense attorneys are here to explain what you can expect in your criminal case and to mount an aggressive defense strategy so that you achieve the best outcome given your situation. To find out more about how we can assist you, fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free case evaluation.