A criminal conviction does not necessarily mean that the convicted individual will serve time in jail. A criminal court judge usually has the discretion to place people on probation for a specific period of time, and if these individuals comply with the requirements of their probation and satisfy its terms, the probation ends, and they will go on with their lives. Earning early termination of the probation sentence for complying also commonly occurs. While probation allows people to avoid jail, it can also be stressful. In recent years many jails and prisons have been dealing with overpopulation, prompting judges to assign probation to convicted individuals who might otherwise have been considered to pose an excessive risk of violating the terms of the probation. Call a qualified New Hampshire criminal defense attorney at Friedman & Bresaw, PLLC, at (603) 707-4800 for answers to common probation questions to speak with one of our criminal defense lawyers about what to do after a probation violation.
What Happens When You Violate the Terms of Probation in New Hampshire?
The outcome of a probation violation will depend on the individual’s criminal background, as well as other specifics of the case. However, anyone who has violated the terms of their probation will almost always have to spend at least a day or two in jail until the judge has a court hearing to set the bond. According to the New Hampshire Statutes Annotated 504-A:4, a police or parole officer has the legal authority to arrest an individual violating the terms of their probation at any time and without a warrant. Law enforcement officers may arrest individuals and take them into custody if they have a valid reason to believe they committed a new criminal offense. If, after an arrest, the criminal court judge determines the individual violated the terms of probation, they could send them to jail to complete the sentence for conviction. When a probation violation and arrest lead to incarceration, the criminal court will schedule a bail hearing within 72 hours of the arrest.
The Most Common Probation Violations
When a criminal court places people on probation for a crime, they must adhere to the terms or risk additional sentencing. Even a slight misstep could mean serving a lengthy jail term. Some of the typical reasons a probation officer may take people into custody include the following:
- Failing to meet with the probation officer as needed
- Making false statements to a probation officer, police officer, or a judge
- Missing court dates and other legally required appearances
- Failing to maintain verifiable employment
- Failure to complete community service or other terms of the probation
- The failure to pay fines or restitution
- Crossing state lines
- An arrest for a new crime
According to the United States Probation and Pretrial Services in New Hampshire, after sentencing, an individual sentenced to probation must meet with a probation officer to learn the conditions of their probation. Failure to comply with the terms and report as the officer requires could result in immediate arrest, additional fines and probation terms, and incarceration.
Technical Probation Violations
A technical probation violation involves breaching the conditions or terms of probation. That could include missing or showing up late to a court appearance or failing a drug and alcohol test. Some common technical violations include the following:
- Failing to meet with a probation officer or showing up late for the meeting
- Missing mandatory court dates
- Missing curfew
- Failure to pay court fines
- Traveling without prior permission from the probation officer
- Failing drug or alcohol tests
Technical violations may not result in a warrant or arrest unless the individual accrues multiple infractions. However, breaches of any type could cause other problems, such as keeping them from early release or extending the sentence and terms.
Substantive Probation Violations
A substantive probation violation is more severe than a technical violation and occurs when a person on probation commits a new crime. One of the most common substantive violations is an arrest for intoxicated driving. The violation could cause the criminal court to extend the length of probation or apply new sentencing in addition to their current penalties.
New Hampshire Felony Crimes
Felony criminal convictions are the most severe, and penalties can be harsh. The criminal laws in New Hampshire break felonies into two categories. Class A felonies are punishable by a maximum of 15 years in prison, while class B felonies could mean spending up to seven years. A felony conviction not only means serious penalties but will also cause many other problems, such as finding new employment or housing. Felons also lose certain legal rights, such as the right to vote and the right to bear arms. A seasoned probation violation attorney at Friedman & Bresaw, PLLC, could answer specific questions after reviewing the individual’s background and other details of the case.
Class A Felony Conviction
Class A felony convictions are the most severe. They often involve causing harm to others, and the state prosecutes them aggressively and to the fullest extent of the law. Class A felony convictions result from the most serious criminal offenses, such as murder, sex crimes, and crimes involving firearms, and these charges are accompanied by harsh sentencing guidelines. A Class A felony conviction could mean spending seven to 15 years in prison, long-term parole after release, and steep fines.
Class B Felony Conviction
Class B felonies constitute a less severe category of felony charges compared to Class A felonies. However, this does not mean the state takes crimes charged under this heading lightly. Class B felony convictions are often the result of the possession of drugs or multiple driving under the influence arrests. A conviction for one of these offenses could mean spending three to seven years in prison, or up to five years on probation and up to $4,000 in fines.
Call an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today
While probation is often the preferred option compared to serving time in jail, violating the terms of probation can be a worry, especially for individuals who are uncertain if they understand all the requirements of their probation terms. A probation violation can mean losing your freedom, and having that over your head can be very stressful. A probation violation could mean serving a lengthy jail sentence and other penalties. When these violations lead to additional charges and convictions, they may lead to additional problems. Meet with an experienced criminal defense and probation lawyer at Friedman & Bresaw, PLLC, by calling (603) 707-4800 to learn more about the essential steps to take after a probation violation.