If you get convicted of a crime, a judge may choose to sentence you to a term of probation instead of jail. Probation is a form of supervised release, under which your freedom is conditioned on the successful completion of certain requirements. Depending on the case, your probation may include requirements such as community service, substance abuse treatment, anger management, not leaving the state, not associating with criminals, not doing drugs, and attending regular meetings with a probation officer. If you fail to meet any of these requirements, you will have committed a probation violation.
A probation violation is a serious legal issue. If your probation is revoked, you may have to serve out your sentence in jail. And, if your conviction was off the record, which is often the case when you get sentenced to probation, the judge may decide to let the conviction appear on your public criminal record. For these reasons, you should enlist the help of an experienced Lansing criminal defense attorney if you’ve been accused of violating your probation. We may be able to contest the accusations and ensure that you remain on probation. Call DeBruin Law PLLC today at 517-324-4303 for a free and confidential consultation about your case. You can also reach out to us via our online contact form.
You Have the Right to Contest Your Probation Violation
A probation violation may occur for any number of reasons, which depend on the exact requirements of your probation agreement. Frequent reasons for probation violation include:
- Not attending community service
- Failing to meet with your probation officer
- Missing a court hearing
- Not completing necessary paperwork
- Failing a drug or alcohol test
- Getting arrested for another crime
- Leaving the state
- Changing addresses without the permission of your probation officer
When your probation officer or a law enforcement officer reports the violation to the court, it can either issue a summons to appear in the court, or issue a warrant for your arrest. Once brought into custody, you will have an arraignment during which you have the right to request a contested probation hearing, which offers the following advantages:
- Presumption of innocence
- The right to remain silent
- The right to legal counsel
- Right to contest the accusations, to have witnesses testify on your behalf, and to cross examine the prosecutor’s witnesses
- Prosecutor must prove the violation by a preponderance of the evidence, basically meaning they must show it is more likely than not that you offended.
If you plead guilty to the probation violation, however, you will give up all of these rights. So, it is essential that you call a lawyer as soon as you are accused of violating your probation. Otherwise, you will miss out on the opportunity to defend your case, and the judge will be at liberty to sentence you to further criminal penalties, which may include:
- Termination of your probation
- Modify or extend the terms of probation
- Fines or restitution
- Jail term
- Formally entering a criminal conviction against you
- Bench warrant for your arrest if you fail to attend the proceedings
You may also have to spend some time in jail while awaiting your contested hearing or your probation violation sentencing hearing. If the judge deems that you are a flight risk, you must await your hearing in jail unless you can post bail. If you are incarcerated for an alleged probation violation, the hearing must occur within 14 days of your arraignment.
How a Lansing Probation Violation Lawyer Can Help
The probation violation hearing process is similar to a trial. If you have an experienced lawyer by your side during the proceedings, you stand a much better chance of obtaining a good case outcome. At DeBruin Law PLLC, we will vigorously advocate on your behalf at every step of the process to give your case the best resolution possible under the circumstances. Do not give up your rights and plead guilty to a probation violation before talking with an attorney. Call us today at 517-324-4303 to receive your free consultation.