Violations of Probation

Certain charges, such as DUI, require the court to place you on probation if you are convicted. Probation is a way for the court system to “keep an eye on you” and make sure that you follow certain rules and regulations. If you violate your probation, in most situations the court can sentence you up to the maximum sentence for the charge you were placed on probation for. For example, if you plead out to a third degree felony grand theft and were placed on six months of probation, if the court finds you in violation they can sentence you up to five years in prison.

There are, however, defenses to violations of probation. While you do not get a jury trial, you are entitled to a hearing in front of the judge. At this hearing the State has the burden of proving you are in violation by a preponderance of the evidence. While hearsay is admissible, it cannot be the only evidence of your violation. Additionally, the State has to prove you violated your probation willfully and substantially.

An experience criminal defense attorney can look at the technical aspects of your case. Has the time of supervision run? If it has, the court does not have jurisdiction over you and the violation should be dismissed. Were you given a suspended sentence? If so, that is now the maximum sentence you can be given, not the statutory maximum. Was it possible for you to fulfill the condition you are charged with? If not (for example you didn’t have the money to pay), the violation was not willful and substantial and should be dismissed.

Josh Faett, Esq.

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