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How Probation Violation Laws in Virginia Have Changed

Explaining the New Probation Violation Law

Do you know how probation violation laws in Virginia have changed? In January of 2021, Delegate Don L. Scott introduced “Probation, revocation, and suspension of sentence; limitations on sentence, technical violation.” Less than a month later, the bill passed in the Virginia House of Delegates: 57 to 43. This bill changed the laws on how and when the courts could impose punishments if individuals commit a probation violation. In our blog this month, Attorney Wilson C. Pasley explains what the new law contains.


Learn the Difference Between Probation vs. Parole

One may think that probation and parole are interchangeable words. They cannot as they refer to two different types of supervision when someone commits a crime. Probation is a court-ordered period of correctional supervision served in the community. A person may serve probation instead of going to prison.


Parole is a period of conditional supervised release in the community following a term of imprisonment. Probation is only possible as a sentence for minor crimes, misdemeanors, and specific felony offenses. It is not a sentence option in cases of violent offense. A probation order is also much more likely to be the sentence if the defendant pleads guilty to their crime.


HB 2038 Is Passed in Virginia

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, juries determine the guilt or innocence of someone and to recommend a sentence. The jury makes a recommendation of a sentence, and the Court can change some of the sentence. Under the new law, which began July 1, 2021, the Court will deliver a sentence after a jury has found someone guilty. Unless the defendant requests a jury sentence courts will still impose this sentence. If the defendant commits a technical violation such as missing office visits or drug screens, the court cannot impose jail. On a second violation, the Court limits incarceration to 14 days. The third or any subsequent violations, courts will impose any or all of the suspended sentence.


Understand The Rules of Serving Probation

In Virginia, it is a privilege to serve probation rather than facing more severe penalties and prison time. Any offender should do their absolute best to adhere to the terms of their probation sentence. Deliberate or planned actions to break the terms probation can result in further criminal charges. The judge may determine stricter probation terms, revoke the sentence, or extend the probation period.


Learn more about probation laws, by calling Wilson C. Pasley PLC at (540) 266-1545, or check out our Facebook page. We are happy to discuss more about how probation violation laws in virginia have changed.