Las Vegas law is very stringent regarding felony charges. One can expect heavy penalties if their charges are elevated to a felony level. However, it might surprise people that certain felonies are still eligible for a probation, even if they are at the highest category.
A Las Vegas defense lawyer may advise their client to request probation instead of incarceration, as long as they qualify for it. There are in fact several felony-level crimes that are viable for probation, depending on the circumstances. Let’s look at how getting probations in Las Vegas works.
Eligibility of Getting Felony Probation
Eligibility for probation covers a wide variety of felony cases. This also extends to at-minimum one-year prison time convictions. As is the case with other legal procedures, certain provisions are in place to ensure that the person requesting probation is fully eligible to receive it.
As a rule, one can get felony probation if and only if:
- The felony was not a violent crime: a felony that does not involve the injury or death of another person has a higher chance of leading to a probation rather than a prison sentence. For example, getting convicted for possessing small amounts of restricted drugs usually leads to a year-long probation at minimum.
- There were no other charges prior to the felony conviction: A clean record prior to the conviction can be taken as a sign of good conduct, and may help convince the court that the defendant can be trusted to follow probation terms.
- No lethal weapons were involved in the crime: Defendants charged for cases like robbery or aggravated assault have little to no chance of getting a probation because these offenses involve deadly weapons.
The Probation Period
As with misdemeanor cases, felony probation periods vary depending on the severity of the crime. The higher the category, the longer the probation period will be. In general, the probation for the different felony categories in Las Vegas are as follows:
- Category E: one year to 18 months
- Category D and C: one to two years
- Category B: one to three years
Violent crimes, sex offenses, and child abuse and endangerment can have probation periods up to a maximum of 60 months. Certain circumstances must apply for these cases to have probation as an option, however.
Note that these are the maximum probation periods stipulated by law. In certain cases, a defendant can end their probation early if they satisfy certain conditions. For example, DUI felony defendants can attend DUI court and attend intensive rehabilitation programs. As long as the defendant meets all of their probation duties and presents good behavior, there is a chance that they can petition the court to reduce it.
The Probation Officer
Probation officers have greater oversight for felony defendants than for misdemeanor defendants. Not only do they have more frequent check-in periods with their charges, they also have the authority to restrict a defendant from leaving the state. Because of this, the probation officer can make or break a defendant’s chances at getting their probation period reduced.
As such, if one is already going through a probation period for a felony committed, it is important they abide by all the rules set by their probation officer. Maintain regular communication, follow appearance schedules, and submit to tests and interviews, among other requirements. Otherwise, the probation officer can report violations to the probation rules, which can lead to an extended probation period or an immediate return to prison.
Felony convictions can be difficult, but the chance to appeal for a probation can make things much more easier for the defendant. Contact a Las Vegas defense attorney to learn more about felony probation options appropriate for the case.