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What constitutes a probation violation in Maryland?

On Behalf of | Dec 4, 2023 | Parole & Probation

People make mistakes all the time. If a mistake lands you on the wrong side of the law, the consequences will depend on what you did and the severity of your actions. For instance, if you are convicted of a minor offense, the judge might put you on probation. However, probation does not grant you the free hand to do whatever you like.

Not following your sentence terms can lead to more legal problems you’d rather avoid. In Maryland, probation violations have serious consequences, so understanding what counts as a violation can help avoid further trouble with the law. Here are two types of probation violations that you need to be aware of:

1. Technical violation

Generally, breaking probation rules can land you in trouble in two different ways. The probation officer, often holding significant sway over those they supervise, can hit you with a Violation of Probation (VOP) charge even for minor slip-ups. Being a few minutes late to a probate appointment or changing your address without a heads-up can trigger a VOP. These are technical violations, and despite recent changes in probation laws, they can still lead to arrest and specific jail time – 15 days with a first offense escalating with subsequent violations.

Non-technical violation

The second scenario arises if you are arrested and charged with a new crime before finishing your existing probation. In this situation, you’ll be held in jail until you face the original sentencing judge. You can forget about bail during this period. While in custody for the new offense, your constitutional rights under probation aren’t the same. If granted bail, you can fight both the probation violation and criminal charges outside jail.

Probation is an opportunity to prove that you are ready to change your ways. Understanding your legal obligations and entitlements during the probation period can help you achieve this.