Receiving probation in lieu of jail or prison time is typically a considerable relief for anyone facing penalties for a criminal offence. Depending on the conditions, probation can allow a person to go back home, keep his or her job, and spend time with friends and family.
However, it is crucial to take probation seriously, as violating the terms – or even being accused of violating the terms - could have severe consequences.
Consequences of violations
A person on probation will have certain restrictions and requirements with which he or she must comply. These conditions are designed to allow authorities to supervise the person and to keep him or her from committing a crime.
If a person violates probation in Ontario, he or she faces penalties, which can include:
- Thousands of dollars in fines
- A criminal charge
- Jail or imprisonment
- The requirement to complete the original sentence for which the person was on probation
- Revocation of probation
These consequences can be devastating, so it is critical to comply with probation conditions and defend against any allegations of a violation.
Examples of violations
Depending on the terms of a person’s probation, he or she could violate the order by:
- Failing to report to the probation officer
- Drinking or using drugs
- Visiting restricted places or people
- Failing to participate in court-ordered counselling or treatment programs
- Travelling outside the country
- Committing a crime, including seemingly minor crimes
- Failing to notify the courts of changes in a job or residence
- Failing to pay court-ordered restitution
It is crucial to understand your probation terms to know what you must do to stay in compliance. If you have any questions or concerns about restricted behaviours or activities, you can consult your lawyer.
Defending against probation violations
People can make mistakes, though. These mistakes may be accidental or intentional, but in either case, it is critical to understand your legal options if you wind up accused of violating probation. Know that you have the right to defend yourself. Depending on the details of the situation, you might do so by providing an explanation, challenging the enforceability of the order or showing that a violation did not occur.