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How is a probation violation different from other crimes?

Many Memphis residents have made a serious mistake sometime in their lives. These mistakes may have cost them their jobs, cost them their family and forced them to spend time in prison. Many people are released from jail or prison on probation, meaning that there are certain circumstances surrounding their release that cannot be violated. A probation violation can lead to serious consequences, including an additional prison sentence.

There are many ways that a probation violation can occur. It is important for those who have been released on probation to know the terms with which they must comply. There are many reasons that can cause an individual to violate his or her probation violation. One reason may be failing to appear for a scheduled court time or date. Another reason may be failing to report to the probation officer at the scheduled time or failing to complete required community service hours. Violations also may occur if fines are not paid or if a person leaves the area without getting permission from his or her probation officer. Also, committing another crime or engaging in illegal drug activity can be considered a probation violation.

When the authorities determine that someone has violated the terms of his or her probation, the procedure they follow is in some ways very different from the usual criminal trial. Typically, a probation violation case is heard by a sentencing judge and the standard of evidence is lower than in a jury trial. Prosecutors typically don't have to prove that the accused probation violator is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, just that he or she is guilty by a preponderance of the evidence.

If someone is facing a possible probation violation accusation, he or she should speak with a legal professional skilled in criminal defense. Attorneys can help advocate for a continuation of the current probation arrangements and create a defense strategy to protect one's freedom.

Source: FindLaw, "Probation Violation", accessed March 8, 2015

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