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What to Expect If You Violate Probation in North Carolina

Probation is a better outcome than an outright prison sentence. However, any slight infraction could potentially complicate your case. The consequences of violating probation in North Carolina will largely depend on the nature of the violation and other contextual circumstances. If you or your loved one has violated probation, read on to find out what to expect.

Conditions of Probation

According to North Carolina statutes, a court may impose a host of conditions upon issuing a probation sentence. The nature of the conditions will vary depending on the seriousness of the crime that warranted probation in the first place.

For example, the court may require you to:

  • Perform community service
  • Abstain from alcohol consumption
  • Submit to regular substance abuse tests
  • Abstain from criminal offenses
  • Report to the probation officer as required
  • Abstain from absconding
  • Avoid possession of firearms or explosives
  • Satisfy family obligations including paying for child support

Nonadherence to one or more of these conditions may result in violation of probation.

Consequences of Probation Violation

At a probation hearing, a judge will determine whether you violated any of the conditions of probation.

In accordance with the Justice Reinvestment Act enacted December 1, 2011, if you violated probation conditions you may face one or more of several consequences including a split sentence, short-term confinement, confinement in response to violation, and/or revocation.

Split Sentence

In a split sentence, also known as special probation, the judge may order a period of imprisonment not longer than a quarter of the maximum penalty allowable by law for the initial crime committed. The period of imprisonment may be continuous or noncontinuous.

Short-Term Confinement

If you are on probation for a structured sentencing offense – i.e., any criminal offense other than driving while intoxicated – the court may order a short jail sentence of between 2 to 3 days. A probationer may not serve more than six days of short-term confinement per month.

If your initial sentence was for a misdemeanor, the judge may activate your prison sentence in the event that you violate the terms of your probation more than once. This applies to defendants placed on probation on or after December 1, 2015.

Confinement in Response to Violation (CRV)

A court-ordered confinement in response to violation entails a longer confinement period in response to a technical violation of probation conditions. A technical violation is any form of probation violation other than a new criminal offense or absconding.

CRV largely resembles a split sentence where you serve time in prison in response to violation of probation terms. The courts may only utilize CRV for probation violations committed after December 1, 2011.


Before the Justice Reinvestment Act, any infraction of probation terms could result in the court revoking the probation sentence and activating your suspended sentence.

However, following the Act, a court may only activate a probationer’s suspended sentence if you commit a new criminal offense or abscond from your probation obligations.

The court may also revoke your probation sentence if you receive more than two CRVs or if you are placed in short-term confinement at least two times.

The court may not activate a suspended prison sentence when a probationer commits a Class 3 misdemeanor, the least serious type of misdemeanors.

While justice reforms in North Carolina attempt to reduce the need to incarcerate probation violators, blatant and continuous violation of probation could land you in jail. If you have violated your probation more than once, you should speak to a skilled criminal defense attorney.

At Carl L. Britt, Jr., we have over 30 years’ experience in criminal defense. Call us today if you are dealing with a probation violation. We can help you achieve the best outcome for you and your loved ones.

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