Violation of Probation
Most judges and prosecutors consider probation a second chance to keep someone out of jail so when a person is accused of violating probation, they often are facing possible jail time. Violation of probation cases can be hard because there is no trial by jury and the burden of proof is much lower, which makes it easy for the State to prove that someone violated probation. With a good attorney at your side, there is hope of avoiding jail time and possibly beating the violation allegation altogether.
What is considered a violation of probation?
A person can violate probation by either committing a new crime or by committing a technical violation. A new crime would be any new criminal offense. Simple non-criminal traffic offenses such as a speeding ticket would not be a violation. A technical violation is a violation of the “rules” of probation. The rules of probation often include monthly check-ins with the probation officer, paying the cost of supervision, testing negative on drug tests, not leaving the county of residence without permission, being truthful with the probation officer, completing required sanctions such as community service, classes, letters of apology, etc.
In a violation of probation case, the defendant is facing up to the maximum punishment on the original charge. So for example, if the person was placed on probation for a Grand Theft 3rd degree felony, they would be facing up to 5 years in prison. The Judge does have the option to reinstate probation, which means put the person back on probation, giving them yet again another chance. The judge can also add addition sanctions such as drug treatment or additional community service hours.
Can I get Bond?
In felony violation of probation cases, it is rare to get a bond after the arrest. In some less serious cases where the violation is technical, it is possible although there are many factors that come into play. You can sometimes have a bond hearing and convince the judge to set a bond. A bond hearing is a very important hearing and you usually only get one shot at it. In misdemeanor cases, it is more common to be allowed to stay out of jail while you wait for your hearing.
Can I fight a violation of probation?
The answer is YES! You do have a right to a hearing on a violation of probation, however, you do not have a right to a “speedy trial / hearing” and you do not have a right to a jury. This means that the Judge gets to decide when you have your hearing which could be several months away, and the Judge also decides whether you are guilty or innocent. Different rules of evidence apply to a violation of probation hearings and the burden of proof is lower than in a normal trial. Hearsay evidence is admissible, though it cannot be the sole basis of the violation. The burden of proof is proof by a preponderance of the evidence, not beyond all reasonable doubt. The hearings are much shorter than regular trials and it is very easy for a Judge to rule against the defendant because the burden is so low.
If you want to have a greater chance of success, hire a lawyer who has experience actually doing a violation of probation hearing. I have that type of experience and have achieved great results for my clients. Even when the evidence is against you, there are ways to get a better result than what the State is offering. Call me for a free consultation to discuss your options! (321) 800-3400
Early Termination of Probation
Early termination of probation means that you get off of probation before completing the entire length of the sentence. Usually, you must have completed at least half of the time, completed all special conditions (such as community service, classes, etc.) and paid all fines and fees. Most judges require a formal motion to be filed and some require a hearing. I usually recommend that all of my clients try to get early termination because it only makes sense. It saves you money and eliminates your chance of getting a violation. If you want to explore early termination, give me a call!