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March 17, 2010

What happens to me in Tennessee if I am charged with a probation violation?

Our office represents individuals charged with probation violations in Nashville (Davidson County), Tennessee and surrounding counties including Wilson, Williamson, Dickson, Sumner, and Robertson Counties. A probation violation is something to take very seriously. Since the court does not give any sentence credit for time served on probation, a person could be sentenced to serve the entire sentence in jail at a probation revocation hearing despite having served the majority of their probation without incident. The following is an outline of what could happen at a probation violation hearing.
If a trial judge determines a violation of probation has occurred, the trial judge has basically three options: (1) he or she can order the defendant to serve his sentence in
incarceration; (2) to return to probation, or to serve the probationary term, beginning anew; or (3) serve a probationary
period that is extended for up to an additional two years. State v. Hunter, 1 S.W.3d 643, 647
(Tenn. 1999).
Additionally, under Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-310(b), the trial court
may also re-sentence the defendant for the remainder of the unexpired term to
community corrections (a very intense form of probation) provided, that the violation of the defendant’s suspension of sentence is a technical one and does not involve the commission of a new offense.
Tennessee Code Annotated §§ 40-35-310 and 40-35-311 govern the procedure for revocation of probation. If a trial court determines that a defendant has violated the conditions of probation, it has the authority to revoke the defendant’s probation and cause execution of the original judgment.
Thus, if a criminal defendant is charged with a violation of probation, he or she could be required to serve the entire sentence that was originally ordered to be suspended and served on probation to be served in prison or in jail. It is very important to contact an attorney to ensure that your case is presented in the most favorable way to the trial court so you have your best chance to avoid serving your entire sentence incarcerated. A good criminal attorney may be able to convince the court that you either did not violate your probation, that despite violating your probation that you should be returned to probation or may be able to convince the court to allow you to submit to drug treatment or some other form of rehabilitative treatment instead of being incarcerated for your entire sentence.
You should contact Vince Wyatt about a probation violation matter or any other legal matter at or 615-256-6666.