Not every convicted criminal defendant will end up behind bars. Many defendants are instead sentenced to probation, an alternative route that allows them to avoid prison or jail time. Probation is not simply a slap on the wrist. The courts and probation officers heavily supervise defendants on probation. Your activities are monitored, and any bad behavior could get you arrested again and put in prison. Most defendants prefer probation to incarceration, but probation is not short and often takes many months if not years to complete.
The exact length of your probation will depend on the crime with which you are charged as well as any mitigating or aggravating factors. Not all crimes are eligible for probation, and those that are may be subjected to specific statutory provisions regarding probation length. However, all probation terms must comply with the Utah Sentencing Commission and are based on the severity of the charges, the defendant’s risk to public safety, and the odds of the defendant reoffending, among other factors. Defendants who exhibit good behavior and respond well to their probation requirements may be eligible for early termination. How early your probation may be terminated will depend on the nature of your case.
If you are facing probation, call our Salt Lake City probation attorneys for help. We can advocate on your behalf to get the shortest probation time possible with the fairest terms and conditions. We can also help you deal with any consequences from probation violations. Call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 to discuss your case with our experienced team.
Length of Probation in Utah
The amount of time you spend on probation is not so simply determined. The question of any form of sentencing does not usually come with a clear-cut or definite answer. Sentencing is often imposed according to specific guidelines and may be adjusted at the discretion of the judge. Sentencing for probation is no different.
According to the Utah Criminal Code § 77-18-1(10), a defendant’s probation term may not exceed the individual maximum incarceration term. However, if your maximum sentence is only 1 year, your probation term can be no greater than 36 months. The probation term must also comply with the guidelines established by the Utah Sentencing Commission.
Call our Utah criminal defense attorneys for help with your case. We can review your case and help you determine what kind of probation term you may face.
Utah Sentencing Commission Guidelines for Probation
The Utah Sentencing Commission has established several guidelines when it comes to how long probation should be. There is a general guideline that applies to most offenses and there are additional, more specific guidelines that apply to certain types of offenses.
According to the general guidelines, the length of your probation will depend on the severity of your charges. The guidelines also supply a timeline for early termination. For example, the greatest amount of probation time on the general guidelines is for first-degree felonies and is 48 months. You may be eligible for early termination no sooner than 24 months, according to the guideline.
If you are charged with multiple offenses, your probation will likely be imposed according to the guidelines for the most serious offense. Our Park City criminal defense attorneys can go over these guidelines with you to figure out what kind of probation term you may be facing.
Early Termination of Probation in Utah
It may be possible to end your probation early. This is often the case when a defendant has complied with all their probation requirements ahead of schedule without any problems or violations. For example, it is common for courts to require defendants on probation to complete education courses, substance abuse treatment, job training, and community service, all while regularly checking in with the court or a probation officer. If you manage to finish all your courses, treatment, and community service hours ahead of schedule, you may be able to have your probation terminated early.
How early your probation may be terminated can be found in the guidelines mentioned above. Early termination is not guaranteed and is often done at the discretion of the judge. If you have failed to complete all your probation requirements, or you have committed probation violations along the way, you might be denied early termination.
Courts tend to look for three critical factors when determining early termination. First, courts look to how you responded to any required treatment. You must have completed all required screening and assessments needed for treatment. You must also have completed a treatment program or be actively participating in ongoing treatment.
Second, the court will examine your risk reduction. Risk reduction refers to the reduced threat posed by the defendant to the public. Essentially, you must demonstrate you will not pose a danger if you are released from probation. Your risk reduction will be compared to specific charts and guidelines.
Third, the court will look at your compliance with your probation and your stability. A compliant defendant follows the terms and conditions of their probation without incident. A defendant with a history of probation violations may not be deemed compliant. You must also show you are stable enough to maintain your good behavior without supervision from the court or a probation officer.
Call our Ogden criminal defense lawyers for help applying for early termination of your probation.
Probation Review Dates in Utah
Probation may be terminated at pre-determined review dates. Most probation terms come with a review date for early termination. If you are unsuccessful at this review date, you must serve out the remainder of your probation term. Your next review date will be at the end of your probation.
When you come to the end of your probation, and you are before a judge at your final review date, the judge must determine if you have fulfilled your probation requirements and if you are ready to be released from supervision.
In general, as long as you comply with the terms and conditions of your probation and your slip-ups are kept to a minimum, you will probably have your probation terminated. However, defendants with too many probation violations, or those who commit new offenses while on probation, may have their probation time extended. Your probation may be extended at the judge’s discretion to allow you more time to complete all the courses or treatment programs required.
If you have a probation review date coming up, call out Lehi criminal defense attorneys. We can help you argue for termination of your probation and get you back to your regular life.
Call Our Utah Probation Attorneys
If you have been placed on probation in lieu of a prison sentence, you will need an experienced attorney to help you terminate your probation. Our Utah probation attorneys can work with you so you can stay on track to complete your probation requirements. We can also help you if you lose your way and violate your probation. Call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 for help.