Probation violations can put a huge damper on those trying re-acclimate themselves after a criminal conviction. Not only is probationary periods disruptive to the life they’re trying to reestablish, but breaking probation is also serious enough to land a person back in jail. Many people on probation are considered to be “on thin ice” by the courts, and even the smallest infractions can lead to serious consequences.

At Martin & Kent, L.L.C., our team brings nearly 45 years of collective criminal defense experience to every case that comes through our doors. Over that time, we’ve dealt with countless clients on probation who must protect themselves from violation accusations. Time and time again, we’ve stood by these clients in and out of court, helping them navigate the best possible outcome.

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Most citizens on probation understand that there are restrictions placed on them as part of their sentence. Possessing weapons, drugs, or being arrested on other charges are serious violations, however, many other infractions that may be less obvious than these could land an individual back in jail.

Common probation violations can include:

  • Failure to report to your parole officer
  • Traveling to certain places or leaving the state
  • Failure to attend a court appearance
  • Associating with certain people
  • Failure to pay fines or other fees ordered by the court
  • Being Arrested for a New Criminal Case!

What Happens if I’m Accused of a Probation Violation?

Probation violations are handled quite differently than other cases in criminal court. If your probation officer reports a possible violation, you will be summoned to court. If you have not properly updated your address with the probation office and do not receive notice of the summons, or otherwise fail to appear in court, an arrest warrant can be issued against you.

At your first court appearance, the judge overseeing your case will decide whether to set a bond. Depending on the specifics of your case, you may have an extensive bond set, may be released without bond, or anywhere in between. It is important to have defense representation from the very first court hearing to ensure you do not have to sit behind bars while your case is pending whenever possible.

The following are some additional differences when it comes to probation violation cases:

  • The prosecutor does not have to prove a violation beyond a reasonable doubt but instead, only must prove a violation by a “preponderance of the evidence,” which is a much lower burden of proof.
  • There is no jury trial for a probation violation. The judge will determine based on the evidence whether a violation occurred.
  • The penalties for probation violations are not set out in state law like the penalties for criminal offenses. A judge has wide discretion when it comes to penalties in each individual case.

Because these cases are unique, you should always seek assistance from a defense attorney who has handled probation violations in the past.

If a judge decides that you violated your probation, there are many different sentencing options. Judges will review many factors when determining an appropriate sentence, including the nature of the violation in question, the nature of the initial criminal conviction, and whether you have been accused of any prior violations. Some possibilities for penalties include:

  • Enacting stricter conditions for the remainder of an individual’s probation
  • Extending the term of probation
  • Imposing fines
  • Requiring drug or mental health evaluations and/or treatment
  • Community service hours
  • A short period in jail to “shock” the offender
  • Revoking the probation and ordering the offender to serve the entire prison sentence that was “backing up” the probation

As you can see, the penalties for probation can vary widely. You need a defense lawyer who knows how to present mitigating circumstances in order to prevent revocation of your probation and keep you out of jail.

Many probation violation cases may stem from a new arrest or criminal charge, as trouble with the law is a common violation of probation. In such a situation, you need to ensure you have a defense attorney who can not only handle your probation case but also your new criminal case. Any penalties for a violation will likely be in addition to any penalties for a subsequent criminal conviction. The likelihood of a jail sentence instead of probation often increases with each new offense, so you need the right defense firm on your side throughout this entire process.


If found guilty of a probation violation, the accused can find themselves with a longer parole period, additional fines, or even more jail time. That’s why it’s critical to seek competent representation for your parole violation hearing. You need a DuPage County criminal defense lawyer that will make your circumstances known and your voice heard before the judge.

If you have been accused of a probation violation, you don’t have to face court alone. Call us today at (630) 474-8000 to schedule a free consultation.