Attorney Christian A. Straile, LLC
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Substantive versus Technical Violation of Probation

What is the difference between a technical and a substantive violation of probation? This is a common question when a family is facing a violation of probation or VOP. There are basically two ways a person can violate probation. One type of probation violation is called substantive and the other is technical.

A substantive violation is when there is an accusation of a new law violation also called a new substantive charge or case. For example, if a DUI defendant had their license suspended at sentencing, then becomes accused of driving in violation of driver license restrictions, or the suspension while on probation for the DUI, will have what is called a substantive violation. This is because there is a new case for a separate criminal violation or offense for knowingly driving on a suspended license.

A technical violation is defined as "not substantive". Literally, if there is not a new law offense or arrest, then the violation of probation will be classified as a technical violation. For example, the probationer failed to follow the rules of probation. If there is a rule or condition of probation that is broken, such as a missed curfew, missing a class, a dirty urine or failed drug screen, then that will be a technical violation. If the driver's license is not suspended at sentencing and the probationer is accused of driving, in violation of a special condition of probation, then that would be a technical violation.

The Court can sentence a probationer to the maximum penalty even if the alleged violation is merely a technical. Another common question is "I have a violation of probation but it is just a technical, what can they do to me?"

Any violation of probation is a serious matter. Please click or call today for an initial consultation into your probation matter.

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