What are the terms of probation in a Nevada criminal case?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Jan 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

It depends on the case, but it is very important that the probationer adhere to all of the terms: Violating a term of probation can cause the judge to impose the underlying jail or prison sentence.

Probation terms in Nevada

People who get convicted of a crime in Nevada may be able to avoid jail or prison by going on probation instead. There are various possible terms of probation, including:

  • abiding by a curfew, such as staying home between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.,
  • wearing an electronic monitoring device,
  • submitting to home confinement (house arrest),
  • wearing a SCRAM alcohol detection bracelet,
  • not contacting the victim(s),
  • avoiding certain locations, such as the victim's home and place of work,
  • checking in regularly with a probation officer,
  • abstaining from drugs and alcohol,
  • going to a drug or alcohol rehab program, such as AA or NA,
  • going to anger management and/or impulse control classes,
  • going to counseling (individual and/or group),
  • doing community service,
  • staying gainfully employed,
  • showing up to mandatory court appearances,
  • submitting to random drug and alcohol testing (blood, breath, or urine tests),
  • submitting to warrantless searches and seizures by law enforcement,
  • paying fines,
  • paying restitution to the victim(s), and/or
  • not getting into any more trouble with the law (there is usually an exception for minor traffic tickets)

Depending on the case, probation can last up to five (5) years. If the defendant succeeds in following all the terms of probation, then the defendant can remain out of jail/prison. But if the defendant slips up, the original jail/prison sentence can be imposed.

Probation violation hearings

When a probationer is taken into custody for allegedly violating probation, he/she is entitled to a Nevada probation revocation hearing. Probation revocation hearings look like trials, but the prosecution does not have to prove that the defendant violated probation beyond a reasonable doubt. Instead, the prosecutor needs only to "reasonably satisfy" the court that the defendant broke the terms of probation.

Therefore, defendants who are lucky enough to get out on probation are advised to "wear a halo" and be extremely careful not to do anything that could be misinterpreted as a probation violation. Since the burden or proof to prove a probation violation is so low, there is a good chance that probationers who did nothing wrong could be sent to jail/prison.

So for example, probationers ordered to avoid alcohol should go out of their way not to shop at places that sell alcohol or walk by bars. Probationers ordered to avoid contact with the victim should block the victim's numbers on their phone. And probationers ordered to be home by 9 p.m. should make sure to be home well before then: The probation officer does not care if a traffic accident on the road beyond the probationer's control is the cause of lateness.

Early termination of probation

Depending on the case, probationers may be eligible for early termination of probation in Nevada. The defense attorney can file a motion asking the court to end the probation before schedule, and the judge would hold a hearing on the matter. Judges will likely deny the motion if the probationer has ever violated a term of probation and has not paid any fines and restitution in full.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.


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