If I Violate My Probation in Colorado, What Will Happen?
If you were convicted of a crime in Colorado, you might be granted probation instead of harsher penalties, such as time in jail. Probation allows a significant amount of freedom, but you still must follow terms set by the court. Violating the terms of your probation can carry severe consequences.
Potential Penalties for Violating Probation in Colorado
You could face serious legal repercussions if you violate a probation order in Colorado. First, the probation officer will inform the court of your violation, at which point a probation hearing will be scheduled or an arrest warrant issued. If an arrest warrant is issued, you may be held in jail, without bond, until the hearing. The judge may let you off with a warning if you have no prior offenses. However, this is a rare occurrence. Instead, the court may choose to:
- Extend the length of your probation and add additional requirements.
- Increase fines and fees.
- Tack on additional penalties, such as community service, more frequent check-ins with your probation officer, or mandated educational programs.
- Further restrict your freedom—for instance, house arrest.
- Limit your contact with certain family members or victims.
- Require you to attend counseling or a rehabilitation program.
- Revoke your probation and send you to jail.
Other factors will often be considered in a judge’s decision, such as the nature of your violation, your past offenses, the likelihood of repeated criminal behavior, and other factors.
Types of Probation Violations
There are two primary ways to violate probation:
Technical Probation Violations
In most cases, you do not have to break the law to get a technical violation, as it is a failure to comply with the conditions of your probation. For example, missing a check-in with your probation officer, failing to pay a fine on time, not completing court-ordered community service, etc. However, probation agreements are unique to each case, so whether a violation took place will require reviewing your specific agreement.
A criminal violation occurs when you commit a crime while on probation. For instance, drunk driving, assault, theft, etc. Even if it is unrelated to your original offense, you have violated your agreement with the judge. In these cases, you will most likely be seen as a potential repeat offender, and the violation will be treated more seriously.
Common Defenses to a Probation Violation
It is possible to defend against an alleged probation violation by proving it did not occur or negotiating a more lenient punishment. Some potential defenses include:
- Unable to pay fines and supervision fees due to financial hardship.
- Faulty equipment used for drug testing.
- Prescription medication interfered with drug test results.
- Failure to report due to hospitalization.
- Unable to complete mandated educational programs due to learning disabilities.
A probation violation is a serious matter that carries potentially severe penalties. If you were accused or are worried that you may have violated the terms of your probation, speak to a Colorado Criminal Defense Attorney. They can explain your legal options and possibly help you avoid jail.