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What Happens When You Violate Probation for the First Time?

1st time probation violation in vegasNevada frees up their prisons by allowing offenders to finish their sentences in the community they violated, and everyone wins.

Probationers who violate their probation may find themselves placed in jail without bond as they await the results of their revocation hearing. If this happens, the judge can take any number of actions against the violator.

How Nevada courts probation violations, probation revocation hearings (PRHs) and how much of your suspended sentence you must execute is contingent on your underlying charge, any special terms of your release, and other factors which the probation officer, prosecutor and judge will determine.

Here is what probation violations may look like if you have never violated before.

Minor incidents that cause PRHs

Short of some wayward probation officer browbeating their probationer into breaking the law, minor technicalities can lead to a probation revocation hearing:

  • Unintentionally arranging a probation meeting over a major holiday;
  • Appearing late due to an issue at the Clark County Courthouse beyond your control;
  • Inconclusive or inaccurate drug screen; or
  • An individual on probation was never explained how probation works.

Rules are rules, yet judges will wonder why an experienced probation officer violated someone due to their own screw up. Court calendars are congested enough; why put petty violators through the ringer? Most of these violations will result in the probationer being released from custody back onto probation without losing “good” time.

Major probation violations that trigger PRHs

Despite their best efforts, probation officers cannot help it when their probationers decide to commit new crimes or blatantly ignore the terms of their supervised probation. When major missteps happen, expect nothing short of harsh treatment from the court if you decide to represent yourself.

A few examples of major violations include:

  • Blatantly failing to check in, or leaving state without permission;
  • Possessing drugs, firearms or other banned items;
  • Repeated positive drug tests for substances that caused the felony they are on probation for; and
  • Acting aggressively toward the probation officer, including hitting or threatening them.

If the probationer committed a new offense, they could receive their suspended sentence from their first crime, and an enhanced sentence based off their inability to follow rules.

How to defend probation violations in Nevada

While probation officers can violate defendants when they want, proving their violations are valid is tricky. As we touched on above, Nevada courts frown on baseless violations as they create an unnecessary logjam of their court calendar. With that said, here are defenses to probation violations in Clark County:

  • Court costs and restitution have not been paid because the probationer became unable to work;
  • Change of address did not make it to probation officer on time;
  • Probation revocation was issued after the completion of probation terms and conditions were met;
  • Another offense was allegedly committed by the probationer, but they were later exonerated of all wrongdoing.

Your Las Vegas criminal defense attorney can raise other meritorious defenses when you violate probation, and may have better luck reducing or removing any penalty that your PRH induces.

Nevada can be tough on probation violations

Consequences of violating probation in Clark County can be severe. If you are facing revocation of your court ordered probation, remember that all is not lost. You can retain independent counsel to help with your case, and may be able to petition the court for bond.

Waste no time dealing with your first time probation violation. Accidents can happen, misunderstandings can get blown out of proportion, and some violations may be illegitimate. Nonetheless, you must treat all PRH hearings seriously.

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