Santa Barbara Probation Lawyer

Summary probation is a type of inactive supervision of a person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor in California. Summary probation, or informal probation, is a replacement for a jail sentence where people who have not been deemed a risk to their community serve most or all of their sentence under court supervision rather than incarceration.

If you or a loved one is facing a criminal charge in the state of California, call The Aron Law Firm to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. When you partner with The Aron Law Firm, we will thoroughly examine your unique case and discuss whether summary probation could be a possibility for you. Our Santa Barbara criminal defense attorneys work tirelessly to help our clients gain insight into their options, address their allegations, and always aim to reach a positive outcome in their cases.

What is Summary Probation in Santa Barbara, California?

Summary probation, also known as a “conditional sentence,” “informal probation,” or “court probation,” is defined under California Penal Code § 1203(a) as:

“The suspension of the imposition or execution of a sentence and the order of revocable release in the community subject to conditions established by the court without the supervision of a probation officer.”

The purpose of summary probation is to protect the public, restore the victim, and rehabilitate the offender. Summary probation is often given to first-time offenders and juvenile offenders with the intention of preventing further criminal activity. However, even people with prior criminal convictions can be eligible for summary probation in Santa Barbara. In many cases, the prosecutor and your criminal defense attorney will agree to summary probation as part of a plea bargain.

What to Expect if You Have Been Sentenced to Summary Probation in Santa Barbara

Summary probation is much less demanding than formal (felony) probation and is supervised by the court system instead of the probation department. Rather than requiring defendants to attend periodic meetings with a probation officer, a judge may schedule progress hearings to ensure the completion of probation terms. Another contrast to formal probation is that there are no probation fees involved with summary probation.

Sentences for summary probation usually last up to one year in California, but they can last longer depending on the crime. During this period, defendants must meet certain conditions. Although summary probation can replace a jail sentence in some instances, it can also require an initial jail term of up to one year before it goes into effect. That means summary probation does not guarantee that a person avoids jail time altogether.

What Type of Offenses are Eligible for Summary Probation in Santa Barbara?

Summary probation may be offered to minimum-risk offenders in Santa Barbara, like juveniles or first-time offenders. Usually, the courts consider low-risk offenders less likely to re-offend and of minimal danger to their communities. Typically, almost any person that has been convicted of a misdemeanor offense is eligible to receive summary probation in the state of California.

This alternative to formal probation or a lengthy jail sentence may reduce the risk of a first-time offender turning into a habitual criminal and, ideally, cause a positive behavior change.

Summary probation is usually only offered in cases where an offender commits a: 

  • Misdemeanor crime
  • Low-level felony crime
  • Wobbler crime

A wobbler is a crime in California where the prosecution decides whether to press charges for a misdemeanor or a felony. Low-level felonies that may be eligible to receive summary probation may include theft, fraud, or drug or alcohol-related crimes.

What are the Terms and Conditions of Summary Probation in California?

In Santa Barbara, judges have a broad level of discretion to enforce the probation terms they deem appropriate. The terms of summary probation may extend anywhere from one month to five years.

Conditions of summary probation include having to refrain from breaking any laws during your probationary period. Additional conditions may vary and will depend on the circumstances surrounding the case.

Other conditions of summary probation could include:

  • Attending counseling
  • Serving the community
  • Making restitution payments to the victim
  • Mandatory attendance of classes (such as drug and alcohol abuse classes)
  • Refraining from drug or alcohol use
  • Attending school through probation
  • Maintaining employment

The terms and conditions of summary probation may relate to the type of crime. For example, a judge may require someone convicted of multiple driving under the influence charges (DUIs) to install an interlock ignition device (IID) as part of their summary probation conditions.

What Happens if You Violate the Terms of Your Summary Probation in Santa Barbara?

Should a defendant fail to comply with the conditions of their summary probation, they could be found to be in violation by a judge. If a defendant has been found to be in violation of their summary probation terms, they could face various consequences.

The consequences a defendant could face for violating their parole will largely depend on the severity of the violation. A judge in California may choose to do any of the following:

  • Overlook the violation or provide a warning
  • Modify the probation order, likely with stricter conditions
  • Revoke summary probation in favor of a harsher penalty

If a judge should revoke the summary probation, the probationer may be forced to serve their jail sentence up to the maximum allowable term. Depending on the severity and type of violation, the judge may set the jail sentence for the maximum penalty for the initial crime or a more extended punishment if the breach involved a new offense.

Can a Summary Probation Sentence Be Modified or Terminated Early in Santa Barbara?

The judges in California have the discretion to impose any probation terms. Judges may also modify summary probation or terminate the summary probation altogether. Summary probation modifications may be initiated by the judge, the prosecution, or even the defendant.

However, you must bear in mind that not all modifications are in the defendant’s favor. The prosecution, for example, may request more strict terms after a probation violation has been committed. With that being said, most revisions to summary probation will benefit the person on probation.

Depending on the case, a judge in Santa Barbara may also terminate summary probation early. Often, this occurs when a person completes all of their probation terms prior to the scheduled date and successfully refrains from committing any violations during their sentence. 

Schedule a Consultation with a Santa Barbara, California Summary Probation Lawyer

Suppose you are facing criminal charges in California. In that case, your chances of thwarting incarceration and receiving summary probation will largely depend on the judge’s assessment of you and how you would take advantage of a second chance. The criminal defense lawyers at The Aron Law Firm are acquainted with the strategies required to successfully plead your case to the judge and formulate an adequate defense for the protection of your interests.

When you partner with Attorney William M. Aron, you will benefit from his thorough understanding of the California criminal courts and penal system. Contact the Aron Law Firm today to discover what potential strategies could be used in your unique case to receive a minimized sentence or summary probation. Schedule a confidential case review today by completing a contact form or by calling us at 805-500-0483.