Your criminal matter often does not end after you have resolved the matter by dismissal, filed charge, plea or trial. If you are placed on probation, there are certain conditions to which you must adhere. If you do not comply with any of the ordered conditions or you are charged with additional criminal activity, you will likely face a violation of probation. Even if it is a simple as payment of a fee, it is crucial that you take this matter very seriously, no matter what the cause of the violation, in order to protect your record and your liberty.
You will first receive a Notice of Violation of Probation, which will detail the alleged violation(s) and give you notice of the date on which you are required to appear for the initial hearing. You may receive this notice in person or in the mail. At that initial hearing, you are formally notified of the alleged violation. The Court determines whether or not you will be held in custody pending the final hearing or if you will be released (either generally or subject to certain conditions). There will be no ability to post bail at this stage of the proceeding. Your liberty is at stake during this hearing, so it is important to have counsel with you at this stage of the proceeding.
At the final hearing, there is a two part process. First, you have a right to a full hearing, with testimony by the parties with knowledge of the violation. This may be you probation officer, police officers, civilians, etc., depending on the nature of the violation(s). Through your counsel, you can cross examine these witnesses and present witnesses of your own. You may also testify at this hearing. You may also choose to stipulate/agree to the violation. Second, if you are found to be in violation of your probation, you have a right to present a suggested disposition to the Court. This can be your own suggestion or a suggestion agree on by the probation officer. The Court will then determine the final disposition.
As you can see, there is a very definitive process for this hearing. There is a legal standard to apply and argue to the Court. There are often many steps that can be taken between the initial hearing and the final hearing that can enhance the probationer’s ability to succeed, or fair well, at the final hearing. This hearing occurs once and cannot be revisited if you proceed without counsel but later do not like the outcome. Protect yourself and hire counsel to represent you at this very important proceeding.
If you need assistance with a violation of probation, contact us for a consultation.