If you enter a plea or are convicted of a crime in Nebraska, the next step is sentencing. A Judge may sentence a person to a term of probation instead of jail. If you were ordered to complete a term of probation, you must abide by all the standard and special conditions of your probation. Failing to do so could lead to a probation violation which can have serious consequences, including extension of probation, additional terms of probation or jail.
When most people are sentenced to probation, there are very specific terms and conditions. Each must be completed fully and failure to complete even one opens the door for the State to file a motion to revoke probation. The motion will include every term of probation not satisfied or incomplete within the time given. When I have a client sentenced to probation, I follow up with a list of items that must be completed and by when. They are normally reasonable and uncomplicated but having a checklist seems to lead to better success for my clients. A better understanding of how most probation sentences work may help you avoid a probation violation.
Sometimes, when you receive a probation sentence you also receive a show cause jail sentence. However, that term of imprisonment is suspended until a future hearing date where you must appear and show that you have completed each term of probation. For example, if you are convicted of driving under the influence you might be sentenced to 30 days of imprisonment to be served four months after sentencing. The court then orders you to also serve a period of time on probation. Your suspended sentence is important because if all terms of probation are not completed, you could still serve the 30 days and complete the balance of probation. This is different than a revocation of probation. If you still fail to complete the conditions that led to serving a show cause jail sentence, the State can still file a motion to revoke subjecting you to further jail.
While on probation you must abide by all standard conditions of probation which apply to everyone on probation and typically include things such as:
- Reporting to a probation officer
- Random drug and alcohol testing
- Maintaining employment
- Paying fines, costs, and fees
- Not committing any new crimes
You may also be sentenced to special conditions of probation which are things that relate specifically to your crime or your situation. These conditions might include:
- Attending substance abuse classes or treatment
- Paying restitution
- Abiding by a no contact order
If you violate any of the conditions of your probation your probation officer may file a motion to revoke with the court. The court will then order you to appear, or to be arrested. At the subsequent hearing you have the right to an attorney; however, a probation violation hearing is less formal than a trial. If the court finds that you did violate your probation you can be sentenced to the maximum penalty under the original charge as though you had never been on probation. Probation is not normally offered after a violation and generally includes substantial jail time.
If you are facing a probation violation in Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
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