An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority. Citation is disfavored, but may be permitted in accordance with the provisions of Rule 30(e)(3) of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Proced ure.

NO. COA05-1089


Filed: 7 February 2006


         v.                        Vance County
                                Nos. 94 CRS 664; 2643
LOLA ALLEN                            94 CRS 6713-17

    Appeal by defendant from judgments entered 13 January 2005 by Judge Henry W. Hight, Jr., in Vance County Superior Court. Heard in the Court of Appeals 23 January 2006.

    Attorney General Roy Cooper, by Assistant Attorney General Donna B. Wojcik, for the State.

    Brannon Strickland, PLLC, by Anthony M. Brannon, for defendant-appellant.

    MARTIN, Chief Judge.

    Defendant Lola Allen was placed on probation in 1994. In August of 1996, defendant's probation officer filed several probation violation reports. All of the probation reports in paragraphs four and five alleged that: (1) defendant violated regular condition of probation number six by failing to report as directed by her probation officer and (2) defendant violated regular condition of probation number five by leaving the jurisdiction of the court without permission.
    Judge Henry W. Hight, Jr., held a probation violation hearing on 10 January 2005. Defendant admitted the violations but denied willfulness. Defendant testified that she failed to makeappointments with her probation officer because she “was having to go from one job and one move from house to another because I wasn't working on a steady job[.]” Defendant further testified that although she knew she had to notify her probation officer about moving, “it was a couple of times when I had to move so suddenly, I didn't have time to let her know before I moved.” She stated that she was “getting put out” because she could not pay her bills. On cross-examination, defendant admitted that she did not have any contact with her probation officer after March of 2000. Defendant's probation officer informed the trial court that “[defendant] failed to appear in court [in March of 2000] and I never saw her again until she was captured in November of [2004].” Defendant's probation officer further testified that defendant did not have permission to leave her residence and that defendant had absconded twice. The trial court found defendant willfully violated probation and revoked defendant's probation. By judgments entered 13 January 2005, the trial court activated defendant's original sentences and had them run concurrently. Defendant appeals.
    The sole issue is whether defendant willfully violated a condition of her probation without lawful excuse.
    It is well settled that “'[p]robation or suspension of sentence comes as an act of grace to one convicted of, or pleading guilty to, a crime.'” State v. Tennant, 141 N.C. App. 524, 526, 540 S.E.2d 807, 808 (2000) (quoting State v. Duncan, 270 N.C. 241, 245, 154 S.E.2d 53, 57 (1967)). All that is required in a hearingto revoke probation is that the evidence be such as to “reasonably satisfy the judge in the exercise of his sound discretion that the defendant has willfully violated a valid condition of probation or that the defendant has violated without lawful excuse a valid condition upon which the sentence was suspended.” State v. Hewett, 270 N.C. 348, 353, 154 S.E.2d 476, 480 (1967). A verified probation violation report is competent evidence sufficient to support revocation of probation. State v. Gamble, 50 N.C. App. 658, 661, 274 S.E.2d 874, 876 (1981). Once the State meets its burden, the burden then shifts to defendant to “present competent evidence of his inability to comply with the conditions of probation; and that otherwise, evidence of defendant's failure to comply may justify a finding that defendant's failure to comply was wilful or without lawful excuse.” State v. Tozzi, 84 N.C. App. 517, 521, 353 S.E.2d 250, 253 (1987). “Any violation of a valid condition of probation is sufficient to revoke [a] defendant's probation.” Id.
    We conclude the State presented sufficient evidence to show that defendant willfully violated the conditions of her probation without lawful excuse. Here, the State presented evidence through the testimony of defendant's probation officer and the violation report that defendant failed to report. Defendant admitted all of the violations in the report and specifically admitted that she had no contact with her probation officer after March of 2000. Although defendant admitted the violation, she offered no competent evidence to explain or to excuse her probation violation. Rather,defendant merely stated that she would have to move from house to house. Defendant's vague justification for not contacting her probation officer was insufficient evidence of a lawful excuse for her probation violation. Thus, because defendant presented no competent evidence showing excuse or lack of willfulness as to any of the probation violations set forth in the probation violation report, she failed to carry her burden. Since the court need find only one violation was willful to revoke probation and defendant failed to meet her burden regarding this violation, we conclude it was within the trial court's discretion to revoke defendant's probation. The order of the court is affirmed.
    Judges BRYANT and GEER concur.
    Report per Rule 30(e).

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