Maryland judges have a number of options when sentencing an offender. Ordering a period of probation is common, especially for first time offenders and minor offenses. Essentially, a judge offers probation rather than the maximum penalty allotted under the case. As long as you do not commit any additional violations and you comply with all the judge’s terms, you likely will not see any jail time.
It is common to hear a judge order a certain amount of jail time suspended and place the defendant on probation until certain conditions are met. It may be as simple as staying out of trouble, or the judge may order you to do community service or take an anger management course. If you successfully complete the judge’s conditions, you will probably never serve any of the ordered jail time. However, if you get into trouble again, or fail to complete the ordered class or service, the judge has the option to reopen the case and go back and impose the original amount of jail time.
What are Probation Conditions?
Each judge may impose specific conditions based on the circumstances of the individual case, but there are some elements of probation that are pretty standard across the board. Some of these may include:
- Offender must obey all laws and local ordinances
- All fines, fees, and restitution must be paid
- Offender must report to the assigned probation officer as ordered
- Abstain from drinking and using any illegal drugs
- Must have permission to change home address or job
- Offender must continue to attend school and/or work regularly
- Cannot leave the state without permission
- Attend all court hearings and appearances as required
- Notify your probation officer if you are charged with a new criminal offense
- Must not possess, use, or sell any controlled and/or counterfeit substance
There are more specialized conditions that may be imposed depending on the case. Some of these might include:
- Report for regular alcohol and drug testing
- Install Ignition Interlock Device on vehicles you own and/or operate
- Attend a mental health screening
- Sign up for rehab
- Attend parenting classes
- Refrain from contacting or interacting with certain people (common with known gang members)
- Provide a DNA sample
- Register as a sex offender
What Happens if You Violate Probation?
If you are charged with a new criminal offense, you will need a separate hearing for that charge in addition to violating your probation. This means that you could receive jail time in two matters now, which would be added one on top of the other.
There are no hard and fast rules on what happens when someone violates probation. Probation officers have some leeway in deciding what should happen. They may issue a warning or require a hearing in court on the violation. If the probation officer recommends a court hearing, he or she will request some type of penalty. Perhaps it is a fine, but in many cases, it may be jail time.
You have legal rights during a probation violation hearing, as well. If you have been charged with a criminal offense or probation violation, you need to retain a skilled Maryland criminal defense attorney right away. Contact the Law Office of Robert R. Castro today to schedule a consultation and let us prepare the best defense possible.