If you are on probation – it’s a good idea to not avoid violating it. If you are accused of violating it, you need a criminal defense attorney who has experience handling probation violation cases. Probation is known as the period of time – where an individual convicted of a crime, is let out of jail based on agreed-upon terms. The person agrees to be a responsible citizen. Some probations require you to have regular meetings with your probation officer. The terms of your probation are set by the judge. The probation typically has stipulations regarding what you can, and cannot do. In most cases, you’ll be drug tested etc on a weekly or random basis. Individuals on probation are required to register when they change addresses. In addition, probation can require you to attend meetings, get rehab, or agree to do other things. Probation can be used in lieu of a punishment like jail time, fine, etc.
Probation is an option we can use when negotiating with prosecutors as part of a plea bargain. Alternatively if you’ve violated the terms of your probation – we can help you explain to the court – why it was violated, ask the judge to overlook it – or downgrade the punishment for violating the probation. As probation violation lawyers, we help clients every month avoid potential legal issues as a result of violating their probation. You need to take your probation seriously, because if you violate it – you could go to jail for a long time. Our attorneys can help get probation violation charges dropped, reduced, or result in no jail time.
Prior to being sentenced for probation, you’re required to sign a document called The conditions of probation. It’s a document which is in essence, a contract, that lays out what you cannot and cannot do during probation. It discusses your rights, and the power The Probation Department has over you. You have to review this document with your criminal lawyer. The major specifics of the document is that you allow yourself to be subjected to warrantless searches, find employment, subject to drug testing, report to the probation officer, follow the directions of probation, and not to associate with disreputable individuals.
Felony probations are typically 5 years, and misdemeanor probations are 3 years. If you do not adhere, you will get in trouble. The probation officer will call the judge to inform him/her of your violation. Your case will go to the court and you will have to appear in front of the judge. You will have a Violation of Probation hearing. The lawyer from the Probation department may ask the Judge to put you back in jail. Our probation violation lawyers will argue there was no violation. Ultimately, the judge will have to decide if there was a violation – and how to punish you.
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What are the “usual” probation conditions?
When you go to court for a criminal charge, you might expect that you will go to jail if the crime is severe or if you have a lengthy criminal history. However, there are times that the judge could give you probation instead of sending you to jail. The length of probation is usually comparable to the time that you would spend in jail. However, you will be able to be at home with your family so that you can keep a job, take classes to better your life and to have a chance to prove that you can stay out of trouble until your probation period is over. If you are given a jail sentence that is a short time compared to being on probation, then you can request that you complete your sentence. This usually doesn’t happen that often as most people are ready and willing to accpet a probation sentence instead of spending time in jail. One of the things to keep in mind is that if you violate your probation, then you could serve your jail sentence anyway.
There are several conditions that you will likely have to follow when you are placed on probation. Not everyone has to follow the same conditions as the terms are dependent on your history and the nature of the crime that you committed. Conditions can also vary by each state, some having harsher requirements than others. This is another factor that you want to consider before accepting the probation sentence. You might not be ready to submit to visiting your probation officer or taking drug tests on a regular basis, so completing your jail time might be the best option.
There are various types of probation. One is supervised. This is where you will have a probation officer come to the home to check on you usually once a day in the evening. The officer might not come by all the time, but you can almost guarantee that there will be a couple visits each week. You will also need to visit the office at least once a month so that the officer can make sure you’re still working and staying out of trouble. Intense probation is where you will need to be home by a certain time and be subject to visits at any time of the evening or even at night. There are more requirements for this level of probation.
With any kind of probation, the judge will usually set the requirements that you have to meet before you are taken off the sentence early or before your probation is completed after the designated length of time. Most people who are on probation have to pay a monthly fee to the officer. Not paying the fee is one of the common reasons that a probation officer will violate someone, which could result in going to jail. You will likely have to submit to at least three drug tests while on probation. Some states only make those who have drug charges submit to drug testing. Drug classes are sometimes ordered. You might have to take some kind of anger management class or a therapy class depending on the reason you were in court.
One of the conditions is to keep a job. You might be required to take educational classes in order to make it easier to get a job or provide proof that you’re completing applications. Some judges will require you to stay away from certain people or places if they relate to your charges. If you are on a strict probation period, then you usually can’t leave the state. Some officers won’t let you leave the county unless you check in with the officer first.
After a criminal conviction is handed down by a court, there is sometimes the possibility of receiving probation. Rather than having to spend time in a jail or prison, the convicted party is allowed to remain free. With the freedom comes certain stipulations in terms of behavior that will remain in place for whatever amount of time the judge designates. Those terms are often referred to as conditions of probation.
Understanding the Standard Conditions of Probation
Standard conditions or terms of probation has to do with restrictions and requirements that are likely to apply in just about any case. These form the foundation for how the convicted party will act in order to remain free for the entire probationary period. When and as the situation merits it, the court may require additional terms as allowed under current laws.
One of the more common examples of standard probationary conditions is choosing to not commit another illegal act for the entire probationary term. Ideally, probation is an opportunity to seek rehabilitation and make changes in attitude and action that draw the individual away from illegal activities. By choosing to observe the rule of law and make choices that are in compliance with those laws, the individual has an excellent chance of completing the probationary period without any unfortunate incidents.
Travel is also limited as a standard condition of probation. Depending on the nature of the conviction, the individual may not be allowed to leave the local jurisdiction under any circumstances. At other times, travel may be permitted if it is requested through a probationary officer and approved by the court in advance. For example, the individual would like to attend the funeral of a relative that is scheduled to take place in another state. By going through proper channels, it’s possible to obtain permission to leave the local jurisdiction for a specified period of time. Upon returning, the individual will check in with the probationary officer and confirm that the trip is completed.
Interaction with other people may be restricted or discouraged. This is especially true as it relates to involvement with people who may be engaged in illegal activities.
At all times, the individual will report to the probation officer according to the schedule approved by the court. Failure to do so could result in the revocation of probation.
How About Special Conditions of Probation?
Special conditions may apply in certain cases. In this scenario, the individual will observe all standard probationary conditions plus a few extra. Consenting to wearing a monitoring device is a good example. Devices of this type are especially helpful in terms of confirming the individual is not visiting any venue that the court has expressly forbid. For example, if the individual is under house arrest and can only leave the premises in the company of a court-appointed supervisor, the monitor ensures that this condition of probation is observed.
Periodic tests for substance abuse may also be part of the special conditions ordered by the court. The tests are often random and serve to confirm that the individual is observing the court’s order to avoid the use of illegal substances. In conjunction with the testing, the individual may be ordered to participate in drug rehabilitation classes that are approved by the court. Ongoing counseling for substance abuse, anger issues, and any other factors that contributed to the past actions of the person may be part of the overall probationary requirements.
Formal education is sometimes one of the special conditions related to the probation. If the criminal never completed high school, one of the requirements may be to enroll in night classes or take online classes in preparation for seeking a GED. Once the GED is obtained, proof is submitted to the court and that condition of probation is considered fulfilled.
Probation ultimately serves two purposes. One is to protect society from the commission of more criminal acts by the individual. The other is to rehabilitate the criminal and provide the opportunity for a fresh start. Choosing to comply with all the conditions of probation improves the odds of serving the time ordered by the court, putting the matter in the past where it belongs, and building a better life.
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