It is common for an individual to be placed on probation as part of a sentence in lieu of jail or prison time. A period of probation can also occur after a jail or prison sentence in exchange for less time in incarceration. Usually these types of sentences are viewed as a win for the accused. The downside of probation is that if the accused does not follow all of the terms of their probation (including any special conditions imposed by the court) they could be facing a Violation of Probation.
There are two types of probation violations, technical and substantive. A technical Violation of Probation occurs if the accused fails to follow the rules of probation, such as the failure to notify the probation officer of an address change, missing scheduled appointments with the probation officer, testing positive for illegal drugs or violation any of the special conditions of probation imposed by the court like court ordered counseling sessions, completing community service hours or other similar conditions. A substantive Violation of Probation occurs if the accused has been arrested for a new crime during the term of their probation.
It is important to remember that at a Violation of Probation hearing the burden the State must prove is much lower than at trial, even for a substantive violation of a new arrest. The State must only prove the violation by a preponderance of the evidence as opposed to the much higher burden of beyond a reasonable doubt that they must prove at trial. The procedure itself is also much different than at trial. The largest difference is that the accused’s violation is not heard by a jury of their peers, but instead the Judge. In addition, though there is a right to remain silent at a criminal proceeding, at a Violation of Probation hearing the accused can be called to testify by the State regarding certain facts of the alleged Violation. Most importantly, if found in Violation of Probation even if the accused has completed a majority of their probation, they can still be sentenced to the maximum period of incarceration from their original case.
There are many evidentiary and jurisdictional issues that arise in probation violation cases, and it is critical to hire an attorney who understands these issues. Attorney Jason Seidman has handled hundreds of Violations of Probation cases and understands the pitfalls someone facing a Violation of Probation is facing. If you think you are in danger of violating your probation, or have already had a Violation of Probation filed against you Call 954-740-0502 today to set up your free consultation so that you can go over your violation, your concerns, and discuss your best options.