The 3 Possible Outcomes Of A Probation Violation In California

In this post, I am going to explain the three (3) possible outcomes of a probation violation.

I’ll cover what happens in each situation so you understand what might happen if you violated probation.

What Can Happen If You Violate Probation?

If you are able to be placed on probation, whether informal or formal, as a part of your sentence, you will be expected to obey all of the terms and conditions of your probation and obey all laws for the designated period of time.

If you violate a term or condition of your probation or violate any other laws, even noncriminal offenses, this could result in a probation violation.

The consequence of a probation violation can include:

And various other sentences depending on the nature and seriousness of the violation and/or underlying crime.

3 Possible Outcomes If You Violate Probation In California

Types of Probation:

If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, and probation is a part of your sentence, you will be placed on a less strict form of probation called informal or summary probation.

What Is Summary or Informal Probation?

The suspension of the imposition or execution of a sentence and the order of revocable release in the community subject to the conditions established by the court without the supervision of a probation officer1.

The length of time for misdemeanor probation can range anywhere from 1-5 years, depending on the nature of the underlying crime, prior convictions, prior violations, etc.

Felony Probation

If you are convicted of a felony, and are lucky enough to be placed on probation, you will be placed on a more strict form of probation called formal probation.

Formal Probation:

Requires additional supervision to ensure that you are obeying all laws, as well as the terms and conditions of your probation. This additional supervision will be conducted by a Probation Officer, who provides a Probation Report to the court.2

The length of time for felony probation can range anywhere from 3-5 years, depending on the nature of the underlying crime, prior convictions, prior violations, etc.

 Once Sentenced to Felony Probation:

  • Upon release from jail or court, and placed on felony probation:  You need to report to the Probation Office or Department for supervision within 48 hours or within the time frame ordered by the court for orientation
Important Documents To Bring To Your Orientation:
  • Valid identification3
  • Verification of residence4
  • A copy of any and all document you were given by the sentencing court.5
  • Both formal probation and summary probation can be revoked when violated under California Penal Code Section 1203(a).6

What Constitutes A Probation Violation?

Probation can be violated in many different ways listed below

Original Designation Period Ordered By Court
  • Fail to pay fines associated with your sentence.
  • Fail to complete any programs associated with your sentence.
  • Fail to complete any classes associated with your sentence.
  • Fail to complete any community service associated with your sentence.
  • Fail to submit to any drug testing associated with your sentence.
  • Violate a protective order associated with your sentence.
Failure To Appear At Scheduled Court Date:

If you fail to appear for court, a bench warrant will be issued for your arrest.

If you miss a previously scheduled court date, you should contact an attorney immediately to get the matter back on calendar as soon as possible.

Failure To Notify Probation Officer Of Any of The Following:
  • To travel or move out of state:  You must notify your Probation Officer and obtain approval prior to leaving.7
  • If you are arrested, charged with any offense, or have any police contact: You must contact your probation officer immediately, or within 48 hours of it happening.8
  • Possess, use or sell illegal drugs.
  • Commit another crime or offense, including arrest, regardless of whether the offense is criminal.
Fail To Report For Supervision With Probation Officer

You must report on the day and time your probation officer schedules you.  If you have an emergency or illness that prevents you from keeping your appointment, call and speak directly to your probation officer or office supervisor and get a new appointment.


Failure to report may result in the return of your case for a Violation or Desertion Hearing.9 Depending on the specifics of your case, this could result in a verbal admonishment, a warrant for your arrest, suitable time in custody before being reinstated on supervision, or revocation of supervision and the imposition of your sentence.10

If You Have Violated A Condition Of Your Probation:

Contact an Attorney and appear before the court immediately

Once Before the Court: The Judge can make a determination of your violation at that time.  Depending on the circumstances, the judge will either

  • Find No Violation
  • Violate & Reinstate or
  • Violate & Revoke


You can request a Probation Violation Hearing.

Probation Violation Hearing:

If requested, this hearing requires the prosecution to provide evidence to prove that you, in fact, violated a term or condition of your probation. This hearing takes place and is decided by the JUDGE ONLY. This hearing does not take place before a jury and is not a trial.

Filing a Probation Violation Instead of a New Case

The reason prosecutors file a probation violation instead of a new case in some instances is because the burden of proof is much lower in a probation violation case.  The prosecutor only has to prove that it is more likely than not that you violated your probation, and the court can impose additional terms on your probation including jail time.

Consequences of a Violation of Your Probation:

The consequences of violating probation include the following:

  • Lose eligibility to obtain an expungement of the underlying offense at the conclusion of your probation.
  • The court can modify the terms and conditions of your probation (ex: extend the length of your probation, add more terms and conditions, etc.)
  • The court can sentence you to jail time before allowing you to continue with your probation.
  • The court can impose the maximum sentence of jail time for the underlying offense and terminate your probation entirely.

Resources If You Violated Probation

Next Steps

If you have been arrested and would like to learn more about what attorneys charge.

If you want to understand why its important to have an attorney represent you.

If you are ready to discuss a pending case with an attorney contact the Aizman Law Firm at 818-938-1274 for a free confidential consultation.

Request A Free Consultation 818-351-9555 


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  6. California Penal Code section 1203(a); People v. Glee (2000) 82 Cal.App.4th 99. []
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