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Virginia probation supervision is a pain, says Fairfax criminal lawyer

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Virginia probation supervision is no picnic, says Fairfax criminal lawyer

Virginia probation supervision invites more risks of probation violation charges and convictions therefor, than when on unsupervised probation. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I talk to my clients about how seriously probation conditions must be taken when probation is a part of their sentencing. Probation officers wield substantial authority to add conditions to probation supervision — including GPS monitoring — that the judge never referenced in the first place. A Virginia Court of Appeals three-judge panel has this week confirmed as much, but at least fortunately in an unpublished (and, therefore, nonbinding) opinion. Ronteyvous Smith v. Commonwealth of Virginia, Record No. 1341-21-2 (Va. App., Aug. 16, 2022) (unpublished).

How can Virginia probation supervision force me into a very early curfew and GPS monitoring?

Smith was put on Virginia probation supervision after being convicted for failure to reregister as a violent sex offender. Without it being mentioned by the sentencing judge, the probation office required that he serve a strict curfew of 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. The probation office also directed him to use a GPS (global positioning system) monitor to watch his movements, at least during curfew hours. In giving probation offices and their officers wide leeway in setting probation conditions that are not mentioned in the judge’s sentencing order nor probation order, Smith heavily references Virginia Code Title 53.1, and states: The “statutory scheme for probation affords VDOC and its probation officers the latitude necessary to set appropriate conditions for individual probationers.” Smith. Smith, for instance, several times references Virginia Department of Corrections Operating Procedure 435.5 to address the probation office’s practice of imposing curfews and GPS monitoring on certain probationers.

What do I do if sentenced to probation?

Some Virginia criminal defendants might consider themselves fortunate if only ordered into Virginia probation supervision, and not into active prison or jail time. However, a violation of probation (by violating the criminal law while on probation, or violating any terms or conditions of probation) can lead to a probation violation, that then permits the judge to impose part or all of the balance of your original suspended incarceration sentence and/or suspended court fine. Consequently, if you have any hurdles to succeeding with probation, it is important for you to summon the assistance of a qualified Virginia criminal lawyer.

What do I do if I have a probation violation charge against me?

If you get a probation violation charge against you, it is time to obtain a lawyer who will focus on the ideal ways to win the probation violation charge, or at least to pursue the best possible sanction if any is issued.

Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan Katz has successfully defended hundreds of people charged with probation violations, plus thousands of people charged with criminal and DUI defenses. Find out the great things that Jon Katz can achieve for your defense, by calling 703-383-1100.