Have you found yourself facing the consequences of probation violation? It is highly advised that you seek legal counsel. The court will likely require you to attend a hearing where the prosecution and defense argue the violation and supporting evidence in front of a judge. It is crucial to the outcome that you have an attorney who knows what to expect and how to handle the prosecution. Whether it is your first violation or third, a lawyer is experienced in criminal defense cases and may be able to help you. The truth of it is, you have the right to an attorney. Regardless of the details of your situation, you will need legal counsel to represent you in front of the judge. The outcome of the hearing heavily depends on how you are represented in front of the judge.
Can my probation officer handle the violation without court interference?
It really depends on how severe the violation is. In the case of a new arrest, you will likely end up at a revocation hearing as it is imperative that you do not break the law while on probation. If you missed a scheduled appointment with your probation officer or failed a drug test, you probation officer may just give you a warning. How the situation is handled really depends on the violation and your probation officer. In fact, there are many ways that the terms of probation can be broken and the severity of the violation is clearly linked to the consequence of those actions.
What are the consequences of probation violation?
The consequences significantly vary depending on the violation and how many times you have violated probation. If you end up with a probation revocation hearing, your fate is up to the judge based on the arguments made by the prosecution and defense, in addition to the recommendation made by the probation officer. The judge may choose to extend the probation, add additional fines, short jail time or the judge may instill the jail time that you would have received if the probation agreement was not offered in the first place.
What should I expect during the hearing?
Unfortunately, the prosecution does not need to prove the offense occurred “beyond a reasonable doubt” as he or she would need to during trial. Instead, the prosecution will need to show that the terms of probation were violated “by a preponderance of the evidence”, or that the evidence makes it possible that the violation occurred. That means your defense must be strong enough to show the judge that you should not receive a severe penalty based on contrary evidence and your character.
What will an attorney do for me?
In turning to a criminal defense attorney, you will allow yourself an opportunity to refute evidence and/or explain your violation. An attorney will be able to review the details of your probation and the court’s reason for the hearing. At that point, an attorney will be able to advise you on the best defense during the hearing. In addition, an experienced attorney understands the revocation hearing process as well as how to develop the best strategy when arguing the evidence with the judge.