Orange County California Probation BasicsIf you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense in California, you may be eligible for probation. Probation allows you to serve all or part of your sentence without having to spend time in jail. However, it’s not available to all defendants and there are strict penalties for violating the terms of your probation.

What is Probation in California?

California law defines probation as the “suspension of the imposition or execution of a sentence and the order of conditional and revocable release in the community under the supervision of a probation officer.” When a defendant is given a probated sentence, they are allowed to serve all or part of their sentence in their community under conditional release. The conditions are set down by the court. These conditions can include mandatory drug testing, attending court-ordered counseling programs, and paying restitution to a victim.

Their probation is supervised by the court and/or probation department to ensure the defendant follows the court’s rules. The court has the authority to revoke, modify, or change its order of suspension of imposition or execution of sentence at any time during the term of probation.

There are two types of probation in California – summary and formal.

Summary Probation in California

Summary probation, also known as informal probation, is available to offenders convicted of a misdemeanor and certain “wobbler” offenses. Summary probation is supervised by the court and can last from one month to five years. While the defendant doesn’t have to check in with a probation officer, they will be required to appear before the court periodically to show that they are in compliance with the terms of their probation.

If you violate the terms of your summary probation, the court may sentence you to prison or jail to finish out the remainder of your sentence.

Formal Probation in California

Formal probation is available to offenders convicted of certain felony crimes. Offenders receive court-ordered terms and conditions of Probation to follow for a period of three to five years. They must report to a probation officer on a regular basis to ensure they are complying with the court’s terms and conditions.

Like summary probation, the court can sentence you to prison or jail to finish out the remainder of your sentence if you violate the terms of your probation.

Probation is Not Available to Certain Offenders

Under certain circumstances, an offender may not be eligible for parole under California law. Examples include situations where the offender has:

  • Used, or attempted to use, a deadly weapon upon a human being in connection with the perpetration of the crime of which they’ve been convicted.
  • Willfully inflicted great bodily injury or torture in the perpetration of their crime.
  • Been convicted of a felony twice in California.
  • Knowingly furnished or given away phencyclidine (PCP).
  • Intentionally inflicted great bodily injury in the commission of arson or deliberately set fire to, burned, or caused the burning of, an inhabited structure or inhabited property.
  • Caused the death of a human being by the discharge of a firearm from or at an occupied motor vehicle proceeding on a public street or highway during the commission of a felony.
  • Possessed a short-barreled rifle or shotgun, machine gun, or silencer.
  • Been convicted of the theft of an amount exceeding one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000).

In addition, any state public official or peace officer who, in the discharge of the duties of public office or employment, accepted or gave or offered to accept or give any bribe, embezzled public money, or was guilty of extortion may not be eligible for parole.

Speak to an Orange County, CA Criminal Defense Attorney About Your Case

The best way to avoid probation, fines, or jail time for a felony or misdemeanor offense in Orange County, CA is to hire a good defense attorney.

Jim Tanizaki is a former Orange County DA turned criminal defense attorney. He knows the tactics the state will use to get their conviction, enabling him to craft effective defense strategies against their charges. His representation often results in reduced or dismissed charges for his clients. If you’ve been convicted and are currently serving probation, Jim may be able to convince the court to terminate the period of probation and discharge you from your obligations.

Contact the law office of Jim Tanizaki through our website or call us at (714) 655-7633 to schedule a free, initial consultation to discuss your case with an experienced Orange County, CA criminal defense attorney.