Frequently Asked Questions about Alleged Criminal Violations in Arlington, Edmonds, Everett, Lake Stevens, Lynnwood, Marysville, Monroe and the rest of Snohomish County, Washington

Is this a Probation Violation?

This question usually follows a typical form: A year ago, I was convicted of a crime (Reckless from DUI, assault, disorderly conduct, etc.) and placed on probation (for a period of time, usually 12 to 60 months). I recently was charged with a new crime while still on probation; is that a probation violation?
Whether a new charge is a probation violation depends on the terms of the judgment and sentence for the original crime. Some sentencing judges will put as a condition of probation “no new criminal convictions” while some will say “no new criminal charges supported by probable cause.”

If your sentence said “convictions,” the new charge is not a probation violation. If it says “charges supported by probable cause,” a new charge technically is a probation violation. However, if you are able to reach a successful outcome on the new charge (such as a dismissal or “not guilty” verdict at trial), most judges will take that into account in determining whether a probation violation has occurred, and if so, what punishment will be imposed for the violation.
Note: for DUI convictions, a mandatory provision of probation is to have no new criminal driving charges (such as Driving with a Suspended License, Driving without an Ignition Interlock Device, etc.). If you violate that provision, the judge is statutorily required to impose 30 days jail for each new charge, although a skilled lawyer should be able to minimize any actual jail time.
Probation violations often result in worse punishment than the new criminal charge, and should be treated very carefully. It is highly advisable to at least consult with an attorney regarding your situation. In most cases, hiring an attorney who is familiar with probation violation hearings is a very good idea.

Visit our probation hearings webpage for more information, or call us at (360) 659-4950 for a free, no-pressure consultation.
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