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Revoking Virginia probation – Fairfax criminal lawyer on judicial discretion

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Oct 17, 2019 Revoking Virginia probation – Fairfax criminal lawyer on judicial discretion

Revoking Virginia probation - Fairfax criminal lawyer on judicial discretion - Photo of courtroom

Revoking Virginia probation – Fairfax criminal lawyer on judicial discretion

Revoking Virginia probation is within the court’s wide judicial discretion, says Fairfax criminal lawyer

Revoking probation is risked by Virginia probationers when the judge has reasonable cause to do so. Va. Code § 19.2-306; Whitehead v. Commonwealth, 278 Va. 105, 677 S.E.2d 265 (2009), modified, 684 S.E.2d 577 (2009). As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I make clear to my clients that the probation period is no picnic, and needs to be scrupulously followed to avert the hot water of having probation revoked and some or all of the defendant’s suspended jail sentence and suspended fine imposed. The probationer goes more under the radar against revoking probation who arrives timely to every scheduled meeting with the probation agent, urinates clean and timely for any urine drug tests, causes no drama, and avoids even receiving a ticket for an illegal U-turn.

Virginia criminal defendants need to consider probation revoking risks

When negotiating case resolutions and dealing with sentencing, Virginia criminal defendants need to consider the extent to which a conviction for a current criminal case will lead to revoking of probation or parole that existed at the time of the alleged crime.

Unsupervised probation is better than supervised probation

Unsupervised probation is better than supervised probation, in that it can reduce probation revoking risks. Supervised probation means having a probation officer, which can be like proceeding with life with more of a ball and chain than having unsupervised probation. Having unsupervised probation in Virginia at the very minimum requires being of general good behavior (which is not a well-defined term) and obeying all criminal laws.

Unsupervised probation is more common in the Virginia General District Courts and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts, than in the commonwealth’s Circuit Courts. Some judges will schedule an unsupervised probation case for a review at the end of the probation period to determine whether the defendant has received any new criminal charges, thus risking revoking of probation for any new criminal charges while on probation.

Being convicted of a new crime will not always trigger the revoking of probation for an unsupervised probation case. A criminal defendant should speak with his or her lawyer about the risks that a new conviction will lead to a probation violation charge.

Probation violations can be charged after probation ends, but only within a year of that ending point

Not getting charged within the probation period does not bring a Virginia probationer out of the probation revoking woods so long as the probation violation charge is filed within a year of the end of the probation period. Va. Code § 19.2-306; Davis v. Virginia, __ Va. App. ___ (Oct. 8, 2019) (‘[a] trial court has broad discretion to revoke a suspended sentence and probation.’) . When the judge states that the probation period is the maximum allowed by law, that typically means probation for life and allows a probation revoking charge to be brought at any time up until one year after the end of that probation period. Davis v. Virginia. 

Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan L. Katz pursues your best defense against felony, misdemeanor, DUI and revoking probation prosecutions. To schedule a free consultation with Jon Katz concerning your criminal case pending in court, please call his staff at 703-383-1100 to schedule a confidential consultation. 

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