What happens if I violate probation for the first time in NJ?

Criminal and Municipal Law Attorneys serving clients facing probation in Little Falls, Woodland Park, Wayne, Paterson and across Passaic County and Northern, NJ.

What happens if I violate probation for the first time in NJ?If you have been charged with a minor crime, there is a likelihood that you will be sentenced to probation instead of receiving jail time. Probation is also often ordered for those who have served jail time and are ready to reintegrate back into the community. Probation in New Jersey, which is court-ordered supervision, very often is part of criminal sentencing. It is imperative to follow the conditions of your probation in order to ensure that you do not succumb to New Jersey’s strict consequences for failure to comply with the terms of probation.

The Sentencing Process Defines Rules of Probation

The sentencing process of a court proceeding will include the provision of a number of rules for probation which a person must follow completely. They include

  • a probation officer to whom you must report regularly
  • employment throughout the course of probation
  • regular drug tests
  • community service requirements
  • a set zone in which you may legally travel
  • no further charges on your record
  • depending on the nature of your charged crime, an interlock device on your vehicle

What is the difference between probation and parole?

Probation and parole are quite different, and it is important for someone serving probation to understand these differences in order to help them legally abide by the terms of their probation. As noted, probation is a period of legal supervision that either replaces or accompanies jail time. Parole is the conditional release from prison, most often awarded as a result of good behavior. The conditions for parole are often similar to those mandated for probation and are strictly enforced. They may include additional conditions or methods of supervision such as ankle bracelets and additional required visits with a parole officer.

What happens if I violate the terms of my probation?

Violating the terms of your probation is a serious matter. Probation violation is usually first noted by one’s New Jersey probation officer, as the probation officer keeps the closest watch through regular visits. If a probation officer finds a violation, they will file a Violation of Probation (VOP) complaint to the court, at which point a hearing will be scheduled.

Violation of Probation in New Jersey

Just as a probation officer monitors the progress of a person on probation in New Jersey as documented during their regularly scheduled visits, a probation officer is generally the first to report any probationary violation, filing a Violation of Probation (VOP) complaint with the court.

Probation can be violated in any number of the following ways:

  • committing another crime
  • not attending appointments with your probation officer
  • not completing requirements such as community service
  • not paying fines
  • not making your probation officer aware of travel
  • failing a drug test or being caught with illegal drugs
  • failing to show up in court for scheduled hearings

In the case that a VOP is filed, a court hearing will be scheduled. If a VOP complaint has been filed based on an alleged violation of your probation, you are legally required to attend the court hearing. In your absence, an arrest warrant will be issued.

VOP Proceedings Determine if Violation has Occurred

During this proceeding, the court determines whether the person was indeed in violation of probation, based on testimony from the probation officer. During the court proceeding, the probation officer testifies as to the alleged probationary violation, and if the judge finds that there was, in fact, a breach of the terms of probation, a penalty will be placed that reflects the severity of the violation. Penalties vary based on the severity of the violation; some examples of penalties include an extended probationary period or even jail time.

The Prison Policy Institute released a study in 2018 that showed that the terms for probation and parole are often so strict that they set people up for failure. The Minnesota Law Review reported added that studies show that one in 53 people who are on probation return to commit another crime.

Consult a Passaic County New Jersey Probation Attorney Today

At The Montanari Law Group, our attorneys have extensive experience supporting clients across Wayne, Paterson, and across Passaic County in all probation matters, including representing those accused of violating the terms of their probation.

Please please call our Little Falls office at (973) 233-4396 today or contact us online for a free consultation. Our unique approach focuses on ensuring that the terms of your probation remain as mild and short as possible. To speak with our firm today in a comprehensive and confidential case assessment regarding your probation violation.


To speak with one of our highly knowledgeable attorneys, contact us today at (973)-233-4396 or toll-free at (888)-877-7985. You can also complete the form below to begin your conversation. We are a personalized, boutique-style law firm that offers free initial consultations and flexible appointment options.