In many instances, after you have been put through the criminal justice system wringer, the court decides to put you on probation for a year or two (or ten) and loads a bunch of restrictions on your liberty that become the terms of your probation. These intermediate sanctions are conditions you have to abide by to remain free from the sentence the court has hanging over your head. Complete your term of probation and you will be free from these. Sometimes, however, people make mistakes or the court issues a summons or warrant for you to attend a probation violation proceeding on the basis of some factual statement supported by probable cause to believe you violated the terms of your probation.


After the warrant or summons is issued, you are brought before the court in what is known as an admit/deny hearing, or first appearance. There you either admit the allegations or deny them but, before you make this decision, the court must inform you that you have a right to an attorney, that you can subpoena and call witnesses, present evidence and an argument, get all the evidence used by the State against you, present evidence or reasons why the violation should not revoke your probation, and appeal decisions to revoke your probation.


If you admit the violation you must have a probation violation attorney that is prepared to argue why the court should not revoke your probation, impose no sanctions, or just impose intermediate sanctions rather than executing whatever sentence they imposed in the first place and dropping the full weight of the criminal justice system hammer on you. Mitigating evidence often comes into play in these instances and can range from consistent contact with probation to stay on their good side, to treatment (mental health and/or chemical dependency) programming completed after to the violation, and everything in between.


If you deny the allegations, the court has to set a probation revocation hearing on the calendar within seven days if you are in custody (or otherwise a “reasonable” period of time). There the state must prove a specific condition was violated, it was intentional or inexcusable, and that the need to incarcerate you outweighs the policies favoring probation.


Say the court finds you have violated the terms of your probation. Now they will usually enforce penalties by revoking your stayed sentence, extend the probation period, throw in more fines, or put on more terms like alcohol and drug testing. At this stage in the process, it is critical to have a probation violation attorney who does their utmost to get the best possible results and get you moving on with your life.

Probation Violation

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