When you are found guilty at trial or plead guilty, usually a sentencing hearing is the next phase in your case. A sentence is imposed by the court and a person must comply with all the terms and conditions before a case can be successfully terminated. Generally at a sentencing, a judge will set a return date for the individual to appear back in court to demonstrate and show proof of compliance for all of the terms and conditions imposed. Once a judge is satisfied that an individual has completed all their obligations under the sentence, then the case can be successfully terminated and no more court appearances are required.
However, if a person fails to complete any part or element of their sentence prior to their return or termination date then they are said to be in violation of their sentence. A person can violate their sentence in any number of ways. If a person fails to pay all their fines and court costs in a timely manner then this can be used by prosecutors as a basis for violating their sentence. If a person fails to complete any court ordered counseling or treatment then that constitutes a violation of a sentence. A failure to complete the required number of community service hours is a frequent way people may also violate their sentence. The most serious and obvious way to violate a sentence is to commit another crime and get arrested while serving a sentence.
Once it has been determined that a person may have violated their sentence or failed to comply, the prosecution can and usually does file a petition to revoke with the court before a person’s termination date of sentence. When a petition to revoke sentence has been filed then a court date will be generated. A person is allowed to have a hearing to contest a petition to revoke but prosecutors only have to prove up the violations of sentence by a preponderance of the evidence which is a much easier burden to meet. If a judge finds, after a hearing on the petition to revoke, that an individual has violated the terms of their original sentence then a number of options are available to the court. Under a misdemeanor DUI sentence, if a judge finds that an individual violated their sentence then he has the discretion to impose the minimum to maximum sentence allowed under the law. In the case of a misdemeanor DUI, a judge could currently re-sentence a person to the minimum court supervision or the maximum of 1 year in jail and up to $2500 in fines and costs. The bottom line is that when you violate your sentence you risk being re-sentenced to harsher terms if the court is convinced you have willfully failed to comply with the court’s order.