Probation is one of the many potential consequences of being convicted of a crime in California. Probation may be given instead of or in addition to jail time in many criminal cases. Probation is a way for the courts to ensure you pay your debt to society without sending yet another offender into the overcrowded county jail system. Domestic violence cases are no different. You will be given at least 36 months of probation for a domestic violence conviction under California Penal Code 1203.097.
There are two types of probation in California: summary, or informal probation, and formal probation. Misdemeanor convictions typically result in summary probation, and felony convictions result in formal probation. Probation will usually last anywhere from three to five years. Probation is a conditional release program. It allows defendants to serve their sentence in the community instead of in the county jail system in California. Defendants must adhere to the terms and conditions of their probation and live as law-abiding citizens during this time.
A probation sentence will involve several requirements you must adhere to. Some of these requirements may be specific to the conviction. For a domestic violence offense, you will be required to attend a 52-week batterers' intervention program as part of your probation. These classes generally meet once a week for two hours. The program involves counseling, education, and group work. You may also be ordered to perform community service, participate in substance abuse counseling, or attend anger management classes at the judge's discretion. You will also be required to pay any fines and victim restitution, or make payments to a battered women's shelter while on probation for a domestic violence conviction. And, with any of these requirements, the court will expect you keep all your appointments, attend your classes, and complete them on time.
Probation will also place many restrictions on your actions. For domestic violence offense probation, this typically means you will be barred from owning, possessing, or otherwise having in your control or custody a firearm or ammunition, potentially for life. You may have a temporary or permanent domestic violence restraining order or stay away order against you related to your case. If so, you must adhere to the order. Your restraining order may place some of the same restrictions on you as your probation does. For example, the order will require you to relinquish any firearms you have in your possession. The order may also forbid you from contacting or attempting to contact the victim. Violating your restraining order could also be a violation of your probation. A domestic violence offense can, in certain cases, affect your custody of your child. You may be prevented from seeing your child, or, more likely, required to have your visitation supervised. If you contact your child without supervision, this could be considered a violation of your probation.
Keep in mind; violating your probation for any offense can result in your original sentence being imposed. This means if you were given probation instead of a jail sentence for your offense, you could go to jail to serve your original sentence. The judge also has the ability to order the maximum jail sentence for your crime. This can be a year for many misdemeanor crimes. Even if you do not return to jail, the judge can lengthen or modify the terms and conditions of your probation.
Probation for a domestic violence offense may require you adhere to several restrictions and requirements that are sometimes difficult to follow. Unfortunately, you could go to jail if you violate your probation. Speak with a California criminal defense attorney with experience in domestic violence crime defense if you are facing domestic violence charges. A domestic violence conviction can have serious repercussions. It can take away your gun rights for life, affect custody of your child, and could even prompt deportation. If you violate your probation for a domestic violence offense, you could face harsh penalties as well. When facing such consequences, it is best to have experienced representation that can defend your rights at your probation violation hearing. An attorney can help minimize any consequences of your violation, potentially keeping you out of jail.
Are you in the Visalia or Tulare area and facing charges for a domestic violence offense? At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, we are experienced in domestic violence defense and can help you face your charges. Criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens has successfully represented clients in Fresno, Tulare and Kings Counties for over ten years and will not be afraid to take your case all the way to trial. Contact our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] to discuss your case.