What is a Violation of Sentence?

Don't let this be you!

If you have been placed on a period of supervision, conditional discharge or probation for a criminal offense, you are required to comply with certain terms and conditions.

In a DUI case, that usually includes alcohol and/or drug education or treatment, attendance at a victim impact panel, and fines, fees and costs.  Often community services or random urine drops are required as well.

The one condition of sentence that is the same for all criminal offenses is that you are required not to violate the criminal statutes of any jurisdiction.  This means that if you get arrested for a similar or more serious offense, your sentence can be revoked and you can be re-sentenced up to the maximum sentence for the original charge.

When you are charged with violating your sentence, the prosecutor need to only prove that the violation occurred by the preponderance of the evidence (i.e., more likely than not), instead of the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard that is required of a criminal offense.  In addition, you have no right to a jury trial in a violation hearing.

So, if you have been placed on a sentence of supervision for a DUI, and fail to complete treatment, fail a urine screen, or commit another offense, you should expect to be brought back in front of your original judge for a violation hearing.

The judge will have several options, if the violation can be proved.  The judge can simply re-order you to complete your sentence.  Or the judge can change your sentence, for example, converting your supervision to a conviction, thereby revoking your driver’s license, or sending you to jail.

If you are accused of violating a sentence, you should contact an attorney immediately.