Felons serving their time in prison look forward to their release even though they must typically complete a period of probation on their return to society.
While they are on probation, they must adhere to certain conditions. If they fail to comply, there will be consequences, including a possible return to prison.
If felons are caught drinking and driving, they can receive a DUI. This blog post will address the question of whether a DUI will violate their probation.
- What Is Probation?
- Violation of Probation
- Factors in Probation Violation
- Supporting a Felon in Avoiding Probation Violation
What Is Probation?
Probation is part of felons’ prison sentence. During the probation period, they remain under court supervision in the supervision of an officer of the court, the probation officer. They must follow certain rules established by the sentencing judge.
These rules usually include a regular meeting with the probation officer, community service, refraining from illegal drugs and alcohol, staying away from certain places and people, and appearing in court if requested.
The length of probation varies according to the offense and the criminal history of felons. Probation can last from one to three years, but it can last longer even up to life depending on the offense, such as drug or sex offenses.
This is decided by the judge according to the “rehabilitative needs of the criminal defendant.”
Probation became part of the sentencing option for the court with the passage of the Federal Probation Act in 1925.
Initially, probation officers worked to make sure the sentence fit the offender, but the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 changed this so that the offender’s sentence fits the offense.
Violation of Probation
Violation of probation happens when any of the conditions set forth by the court are not met.
When a violation occurs, the probation officer has the duty of deciding on the consequences. These may include a warning or attendance at a probation violation hearing.
If the probation officer decides a felon violated probation, there may be additional terms added to the probation, a fine, revoked probation, or prison time. Felons in this situation will want to have legal counsel present.
If the probation is revoked, a revocation hearing is conducted by a neutral judge. At the hearing, the prosecuting attorney must show felons violated the conditions by a “preponderance of evidence.”
Felons will also hear any new charges that may be filed with the judge either supporting a felon’s case or refute the evidence.
The judge may add time to the original probation, hand down a fine, require treatment, jail time, or serving out the remainder of the original sentence depending on the circumstances.
A probation violation decision can be appealed to a higher court.
Factors in Probation Violation
Once released from prison, one of the biggest hurdles felons face is finding a job. They are expected to do so as part of their probation and re-entry into society.
As felons, they have probably not had a stable job history. This is in itself one reason felons turn to crime in the first place. They may not have strong job skills due to a lack of education or no vocational training.
They may lack the interview skills to be hired for a position. Also, there may be a lack of are motivation to find and keep jobs. Imagine returning from incarceration and struggling to find a job for any of these reasons.
As if that is not enough, it can be difficult to find an employer who is willing to hire an ex-offender. Many companies will not. It doesn’t take many rejections from potential employers to discourage felons to the point that they give up on a job search.
But there is the constant pressure to make a living and provide for their family. If nothing else works out they may turn again to crime to make money.
Leading an honest life requires major changes in their lives. Staying away from crime and living a productive, honest life free from crime is not easy.
Some felons’ response to this pressure is alcohol, often to excess. They may make bad decisions, such as drinking and driving.
For felons arrested on a DUI, if convicted, this would violate probation.
As a result of the new conviction, the consequences could be a continuation of the original probation or returning to prison to complete the original sentence plus the sentence for the DUI. If this occurs, often these sentences will be set to run concurrently.
The judge may limit any jail time if the defendant agrees to certain conditions such as a fine, random drug tests, a promise not to drive, or rehabilitation. If these conditions are not met, felons will certainly face the completion of their original sentence and a sentence for the DUI.
Supporting a Felon in Avoiding Probation Violation
As supporters and significant others, it is important to be there to encourage them.
They will need assistance from those who care about them to learn new job and coping skills. Reaching out for help from organizations in place to help those leaving prison will be an essential step in their recovery.
Extend that helping hand to begin making a difference as ex-offenders create a new identity as productive members of society.
Families of felons will be able to verify the many challenges their loved one faces. Statistics are against felons. As many as 2/3 return to prison within the first two years following their release.
Families need to let their loved one know that they are there supporting them. The challenges are great, but they don’t have to be overwhelming or stop their lives.
After all, felons completed their sentences, often lasting years. How did they do that? Simple. They did it one day at a time, just like they have to approach life now.
They made it through their prison sentence. They can make it after prison without violating parole also with support by their side.
So what do you think about this blog post about how a DUI violated their probation? Have you or someone you know violated felony probation? What was that experience like and how did they deal with it? Please tell us in the comments below.