Probation violation

Probation violation

The criminal justice system in New York often takes a heavy-handed approach to probation violations. Anyone convicted of a VOP, or a violation of probation, can face a heavy fine and incarceration for the duration of their original sentence.

Probation vs. parole

Although often confused, the two conditions are not the same. Parole is an early release from prison while probation is a set of guidelines and rules that will keep you out of jail if you comply with them for a specified duration. Under NY Penal Law §65.00, the length of any given probationary period depends on the classification of your criminal offense, from up to one year for Class B misdemeanors (except those involving public lewdness) all the way up to 25 years for Class A-II drug felonies.

New York criminal court judges tend to grant probation to those who do not pose a public safety risk. Other candidates include people who assist the authorities in the investigation and/or prosecution of someone charged with a drug felony.

General probation guidelines

In exchange for avoiding incarceration, the court expects you to follow the requirements and rules of your probationary period. Depending on the type and severity of your original offense, you may be ordered to do/complete the following:

  • Avoiding any more arrests or charges
  • Keeping away from known criminals
  • Participating in substance abuse counseling
  • Abstaining from drugs and alcohol
  • Completing random drug and/or alcohol testing
  • Performing community service
  • Paying restitution to your victim(s)
  • Checking in regularly with a probation officer
  • Keeping a curfew
  • Consenting to electronic monitoring, such as an ankle bracelet

Probation violations

If your probation officer suspects or believes that you have violated your probation conditions, they will file a VOP with the court. There are two types of violation:

  • Technical: Failing to report to the officer, attend drug counseling, obey your curfew, etc.
  • Substantive: Being arrested for a new offense

You will be required to attend the violation hearing, which is usually presided over by the same judge who set your probation terms. When it concludes, your probation terms will either be continued as originally set, modified in whatever way the judge sees fit, or revoked completely. In the latter circumstance, you will be sent to jail or prison to serve out whatever sentence was applied to the original crime.

When people receive notice to attend a VOP hearing, some panic and run, which makes the situation worse. Should you fail to appear, a bench warrant will be issued for your arrest, so resist the urge to flee. Instead, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. They will review the case and work to have the violation resolved in your favor.

Probation violations can occur for several defensible reasons, and your attorney can help you achieve the most favorable outcome for your particular situation. Julie Rendelman has over 20 years of experience as both a prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney. She works to represent her clients and try to obtain the best results for them. If you are facing a criminal investigation and/or have been arrested, or you have violated your probation, then it is crucial to seek legal counsel to have your rights protected. Call 212-951-1232 for a free consultation with Ms. Rendelman. She may also be reached through her website,