Felony Probation in California
If you have been convicted of a felony in the State of California, the prosecution may have offered sentenced you to felony probation. Felony probation is offered to those convicted of a felony offense as an alternative to being sent to prison. A convicted felony may be sentenced to felony probation to serve all or part of his prison sentence. That said, a convicted felon who is sentenced to felony probation must follow specific terms, which usually include a promise not to engage in any criminal activity, and to periodically check in with a probation officer. Felony probation is not offered to all those who are convicted of a felony offense. Felony probation in California usually lasts for three to five years from the date an individual is convicted. If you have been convicted of a felony in Los Angeles or elsewhere in the State of California, contact an experienced felony defense attorney at The H Law Group to defend you. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling us at 1 (213) 370-0404.
What is Felony Probation?
Felony probation is a type of sentence that is available to some individuals who are convicted of a felony offense is the State of California. Rather than a person serving his sentence in Prison, he is set free, however, he must agree to certain terms and conditions to maintain his or her freedom. Usually, on felony probation, a convict is not in custody, his freedom to move is not restricted within the county, and he is under supervision. Usually, the terms and conditions of probation mandate that a convict periodically check-in with his probation officer to ensure that the defendant is in compliance with the terms and conditions of his probation. So long as the defendant complies with the terms and conditions of his probation, he will maintain his freedom. However, if the convicted felon violates the terms of his probation, he is sent back to prison to complete his sentence behind bars.
Conditions of Felony Probation in California
We will now give you some of the terms that you will find on the terms and conditions page of your felony probation form. Note: The terms of your felony probation will be different from the terms we will list below. To know the terms of your probation, you should refer to your own probation terms and conditions. We are only providing the following terms to educate the general public as to what the terms and conditions of felony probation look like.
Here are some of the terms you may face if you’re sentenced to felony probation:
- You are to report to your probation officer on a monthly basis
- You must obey all laws, court orders, and the terms of your probation
- You must not associate with anyone else who is on probation or parole
- You are to remain gainfully employed or seeking employment
- You must keep the probation department informed as to your employment
- You must keep the probation department informed as to any vehicles that you own
- You must notify the probation department of any changes to your residence
- You are not to leave your county of the State of California without permission of the probation department
- You are not to obstruct a probation officer from entering your home
- You are not permitted to have any firearms or ammunition in your possession or under your control
There are other terms, but these are the main terms you should be aware of. Again, these are model terms, for the terms of your probation, you should consult your own probation terms and conditions. Do not rely on these terms.
Violating the Terms of Felony Probation
If you are felony probation, and you violate the terms of your probation, you will be faced with the following scenarios:
- The judge will look past your violation and will reinstate your probation on the same terms
- The judge will modify the terms of your probation, often adding harsher and more strict terms
- The judge may revoke your probation and send you to jail or prison
As such, if you have been released on felony probation, it is best to obey the terms of your probation. If you violate the terms of your probation, you risk having your probation revoked and being sent back to prison.
Note: Felony probation is only for those who are convicted of a felony. Those who are convicted of a misdemeanor may be sentenced to misdemeanor probation, which is different and more lenient then felony probation.
Who is Eligible for Felony Probation?
Whether the court awards the defendant felony probation depends on a number of factors. These factors include the following:
- The seriousness of the crime committed by the defendant
- The egregiousness of the defendant’s conduct
- The defendant’s criminal record
- Whether the defendant used a weapon in the commission of the crime
- Whether the defendant caused injury to his victims
- Whether the defendant caused monetary loss to his victims
Note: At the sentencing hearing, your criminal defense attorney will argue that the factors are in favor of granting you probation. The prosecutor may agree with you or disagree. However, the judge ultimately makes the decision whether to grant you felony probation.
Who Pays for Your Supervision?
While you are on felony probation, you have to periodically check in with your probation officer. Typically, the county that is in charge of your probation supervision will charge you a monthly fee for its service. So, even though you’re somewhat free, you still have to pay monthly payments to maintain your freedom.
Can You Violate Your Probation without Breaking the Law?
Yes, you can easily violate the terms of your probation without breaking any laws. For example, the terms of your probation may prohibit from you drinking alcohol, which is something that is not illegal, yet if you do drink alcohol and your probation officer finds out about it, you will be in violation of the terms of your probation.
Can You Travel While You’re on Probation?
To determine whether you can travel while you’re on felony probation, you should consult the terms and conditions of your probation. If you are not allowed to travel, you will find a section that tells you whether you can travel, and what steps you need to take prior to traveling.
A common term found in the terms and conditions of probation is as follows: “You are not leaving County X or the State of California without the permission of the probation department.” So, if your terms and conditions contain a similar term, you should consult with your probation department before leaving the county and/or the State of California.
Can you Get Your Probation Terminated Early?
Yes, some convicts will be able to have their felony probation terminated early. However, for an individual to have their probation terminated they must petition the court to do so. The best way to do this is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to file a petition with the court on your behalf. In California, for an individual to have his probation terminated early, he must have completed at least 18 months of his probation, he must have not violated the terms of his probation, and he must have completed the terms of his probation.
For example, if the defendant was ordered to pay restitution to any victim(s), he must have completed restitution payments before the court allows him to terminate his probation early. Also, for an individual to have his probation terminated early, there must be a valid reason for terminating probation early, such as to qualify for a job or be able to travel freely for work.
Can you Have Your Felony Conviction Expunged After Completing Probation?
Yes, after you have completed your probation and the terms of your sentence, you may be able to get your felony conviction expunged. For a better chance of getting your felony expunged, make sure that you are not currently charged with any new crimes, you’re not serving a sentence for a different crime, and you are not on probation for committing another crime. For more information on having your felony conviction expunged, see this excellent resource on expungement.
Is Everyone Eligible for Felony Probation?
No, not everyone is eligible for felony probation. For example, a person who has been convicted of a felony and has been convicted of a prior serious or violent felony is not eligible for felony probation.
Should You Agree to Be Placed on Felony Probation?
This question is best answered by your own attorney. However, here are some things that you should keep in mind if you agree to be placed on felony probation:
- You can still go to prison if you violate any of the terms or conditions of your probation
- You can violate the terms of your probation without breaking any laws
- Your ability to move freely between counties and states will be restricted
- You may be required to seek and obtain employment while you’re on probation
- Your home can be searched at any time by law enforcement without them having to obtain a warrant
- You cannot associate with others who have been convicted of crimes or are currently on probation or parole
These are all things that you should keep in mind before agreeing to be placed on felony probation. That said, to know what you can and cannot do while you’re on probation, you should consult your own terms and conditions. Do not rely on the terms and conditions we have provided here because yours will be different.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one has been charged with or convicted of a felony and you need legal representation, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at The H Law Group to represent you and guide you through these difficult times. Our attorneys have handled all types of cases, so they are experienced in most areas of the law. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling us at 1 (213) 370-0404.