What is an Application to Accelerate?
If you have had an application to accelerate (often referred to generally as an “app”) filed in your case, you are probably wondering what that means.
In essence, an application to accelerate is a formal document provided by the DA’s office notifying the court that you have violated your probation. Some counties may call this a “motion to accelerate.”
What types of cases can an application to accelerate be filed in?
An application to accelerate is filed when the State believes there has been a probation violation on a case with a deferred sentence. Probation violations while on a suspended sentence will certainly result in the State seeking further punishment, but the process is different and handled through an application to revoke (or motion to revoke). Application to accelerate comes first, because it is the State requesting the court advance your probation from a deferred sentence to a suspended sentence. If successful, this prevents you from receiving an automatic partial expungement, and often adds time to your probation.
What are probation violations?
Any requirement you are given on probation that you fail to complete is a violation. This includes:
- Leaving the state (if required)
- Committing an additional crime
- Failing an alcohol/ drug test (if required)
- Failing to complete ANY of your required classes
- Missing a payment to the DA supervision office
- Missing a payment to the court clerk
- Failing to complete community service hours
- Failing to check in with the DA supervision office
You are required to complete ALL of your probation requirements. Even one violation is enough to lead to an app.
The Steps of an Application to Accelerate
Step One: Filing the app. An app must be filed within the term of your probation to be valid. For example, if the DA’s office files the app 2 days after your 1-year probation ended, the app is invalid and will be dismissed. However, if the DA files the app 1 day before your probation ends, the app is valid, even if the app process is not completed until AFTER your probation ends. The filing date is the date of importance in regard to an app.
Step Two: Arraignment. This should be fairly similar to your original arrangement, but may look more like a general conference docket. It all depends on which county you are in. Typically, you can expect to attend the docket and be given a copy of the app. In this document, the State will allege your probation violation and the court will formally make you aware of the violation.
Step Three: Negotiating how to move forward. You have the right to a hearing on the violation alleged in the app. During this hearing, the State has to prove a willful violation of your probation and the court will make a determination.
While requesting a hearing is an option available to you, it is rarely the avenue taken. Typically, the State will provide you with an offer to confess the app, meaning you agree that you did in fact commit that violation. In return, the State gives you time to get in compliance with the violation. For example, if your probation violation is due to unpaid fines or an incomplete class, the State would give you time to pay the fine or complete the class. Upon successful completion, your app would be dismissed, and you would continue along with your probation like the violation never happened.
Step Four: Sentencing. The court will look at your probation violation and determine what sentence you should receive based on that violation. For example, failing to pay $20 worth of DA supervision fees will result in a much lower consequence than committing another crime while on probation. If, at the time of sentencing, you have previously confessed the app and completed those requirements, the State will dismiss the app and you can move forward without additional consequences.
When should I set an app for a hearing?
This should be handled on a case-by-case basis with your attorney, but one common reason you would set a hearing rather than confess the app is when the State alleges you have committed a new crime. Confessing that the app is correct would be confessing to the separate crime. While this may be the best option for you, you do not want to make that decision without looking at the second case and ensuring you do in fact want to plead guilty on it.
What is the punishment on an app to accelerate?
The punishment for violating your probation and failing to resolve those issues before sentencing can vary greatly, but generally, you can expect to be accelerated from a deferred sentence to a suspended sentence and maintain the same requirements on probation. This often means you will restart probation (begin the year over again) and still have to complete the classes and pay the fines you were previously responsible for—as well as the new fines associated with the additional time on probation.The judge will not (and cannot on a DUI charge) remove those requirements.
While the court has the ability to give you jail time on an application to accelerate, that rarely happens.
The Bottom Line
If you fail to comply with all of your probation requirements, an application to accelerate will be filed in your case. While this will not immediately lead to additional time on your probation, your app will either be set for a hearing or you will need to confess to the allegations within it. Failing to rectify the probation violation will likely result in additional probation time and prohibit you from being eligible for an automatic partial expungement.