Seattle Probation Violations: What to Know
If you’re found guilty of an offense in Washington, whether via a guilty plea or trial verdict, you may be placed on probation.. If you are placed on probation, you are ordered to abide by specific requirements and conditions set by the court.
Washington Probation Requirements
If you are on probation, you may be required to abide by several conditions, including:
Meeting/Communicating with a Probation Officer
A probation officer will typically be assigned to supervise you while you’re on probation. These officers enforce the terms of your agreement and inform the court if those conditions are violated.
Weapons are Prohibited
Depending on the conviction type, an individual on probation may not be allowed to possess a firearm or other dangerous weapon.
Alcohol or Drug Testing
Courts in Washington may impose an abstinence condition that requires that you not consume any drugs or alcohol while on probation. The court might mandate random urinary analysis (UA) to confirm whether or not you have been abstaining from alcohol and drugs.
No Additional Violations
If there is probable cause to believe that you committed a new criminal law violation while under probation, you will be in violation of your sentence and summoned to court for a review or show cause hearing to address the alleged violation.
Jail, EHM, or Community Service
In some cases, individuals are ordered to serve jail time, EHM time, and/or community service as part of their sentence. Failure to complete the required hours is a violation. Failure to complete your requirement is a violation.
Other Probation Conditions
Additional Washington State probation rules that the court may impose include:
- Reporting regularly to your probation officer
- Residing with parents, in a halfway house, or a foster home
- Retaining continuous employment or school enrollment
- Providing timely payment of fines and costs
Getting an alcohol and drug assessment and successfully completing the recommended treatment program. If you adhere to the rules and complete your probation successfully, you will be free from further probation requirements.
If you fail to comply with even one condition of your agreement, the prosecutor may move to revoke your sentence and recommend sanctions for your non-compliance.,
Probation Violation Penalties
The consequences for probation violations are determined based on the type and severity of your violation. Your probation officer will notify the court of the alleged violation and request that a review or show cause hearing be set in order to address the violation.
The Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 9.95.220 states, “for this purpose, any peace officer or state parole officer may re-arrest any such person without warrant or other process. The court may, in its discretion, and without notice, revoke and terminate such probation.”
A preponderance of the evidence is required to find you in violation of your probation. If you are found in violation, you will face additional sanctions, which may include increasing the length and terms of your probation, community service, or mandatory rehabilitation program attendance. Additionally, you may be sentenced to time in custody or to serve out the remainder of your original sentence.
Penalties for violating probation can be as severe as the original consequences of your conviction. To avoid the harshest consequences, you should work closely with a probation violation lawyer in Seattle who can get you the best outcome possible.
Probation Violation Hearings
Your probation violation hearing is a legal proceeding to determine whether you have violated the terms and conditions of your probation. At the hearing, the prosecution or probation officer and the defense present evidence. The judge then decides if a violation occurred based on a “preponderance of the evidence” standard.
When you’re accused of violating probation, you have the right to:
- Obtain a written notice of the claimed violations against you
- Have representation by an attorney
- Have your case heard before a neutral judge
- Present witnesses and evidence to contest the allegations
Outcomes can range from no violation found to modification of probation terms to full revocation of probation with potential jail or prison time. Sometimes, the probationer may have the right to appeal the decision.
Defenses Against Probation Violation Charges
Properly preparing for a review or show cause hearing is vital. Proving that you are in compliance or explaining that there is a reasonable explanation for why you are not in compliance is necessary to avoid sanctions or to lessen the sanction.
Your probation violation attorney may employ one of several defense strategies to minimize or eliminate the penalties you are facing, including:
- Demonstrating through recorded travel routes and phone records that you did everything possible to comply with the terms of probation.
- Highlight that improper drug or alcohol testing methods were used
- Argue that you were hospitalized or unable to participate in a required program or meet with your probation officer.
- Provide an explanation for the violation and show proactive steps toward getting back into compliance.
- Provide evidence and argue that the allegations are unfounded and cannot be substantiated.
Other defenses may be more appropriate depending on the nature of the probation violation allegation.