If you are facing probation in Virginia, you probably have a million questions about what this could mean for your future. How long will it last? What will the requirements be? What factors could change the length of your sentence?
At Leary Law, our experienced Fairfax and Manassas criminal defense attorneys can address all of your most pressing concerns in a confidential consultation. Call us or reach out to us online now.
Probation in Virginia
Virginia courts choose to impose probation sentences instead of jail time, prison time, or other penalties in some criminal proceedings. Probation sentences allow defendants to serve their time in relative freedom and avoid incarceration.
Not all defendants are eligible for probation. Generally speaking, courts will only grant probation to defendants whom they consider unlikely to commit additional offenses. If you have been convicted of multiple prior offenses or any serious crimes, you are unlikely to receive probation.
There are two main types of probation in Virginia:
- Supervised probation – If you are sentenced to supervised probation, you will be required to report to a probation officer at regular intervals. You will be expected to obey your probation officer’s orders, obey all laws and ordinances, and comply with any other terms the court imposes on your sentence.In many cases, supervised probation is assigned to individuals who have already served portions of their sentences in jail or prison and are re-integrating into society. Still, first-time offenders can also be sentenced to supervised probation.
- Unsupervised probation – If you are sentenced to unsupervised probation, you will also be required to obey all local laws and follow any conditions the court imposes on your sentence. However, you will not be under round-the-clock supervision by a probation officer. You will not likely have a curfew, regular check-in requirements, or any travel restrictions.
Unsupervised probation is often a component of the court-ordered rehabilitation assigned to first-time offenders or those convicted of relatively minor offenses.
If you violate any conditions of your probation, you could face serious penalties, up to and including the revocation of your probation. Any violation of local laws or ordinances could count as a violation, even a simple speeding ticket for those on unsupervised probation. Those on supervised probation may violate the terms of their sentences by failing to check in with their probation officers, failing to comply with other court-ordered conditions of their probation, or being charged with new offenses.
What Factors Can Impact How Long Probation Lasts?
In the state of Virginia, probation sentences typically range from six months up to ten years. The length of your probation sentence may vary based on:
- The severity of the offense – More serious offenses generally carry longer probation sentences. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, your probation may only last a year or two. Probation sentences for felonies may range from a few years up to the maximum allowable period of ten years.
- The total length of your sentence – Under Virginia law, the court cannot order a probation sentence longer than any jail or prison sentence you were initially ordered to serve. This means if you were sentenced to three years in jail and then granted probation after only two years, your probation period cannot exceed one year.
- Your behavior – If you have not served any jail time as part of your sentence, you can petition the court to reduce the length of your probation period. To be eligible for early release from probation, you typically must pay off any court-ordered fines, complete at least half of your sentence, and finish any court-ordered rehabilitation courses or treatments.If you violate any terms or conditions of your probation, the court may extend the length of your probation or even compel you to serve out the remainder of your sentence in jail.
How a Lawyer Can Help
A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney could help you if you’ve been charged with violating the conditions of your probation or assist with other probation-related matters. Contact us by phone or online to speak with one of our skilled and compassionate NoVa criminal defense lawyers now.