Probation is generally a portion of a penalty for a criminal conviction. It’s often used to enable an offender to avoid all or a portion of jail time. A defendant may be able to avoid jail entirely and continue to live and at home and work while on probation, or a defendant may be released from jail and then remain on probation for a period of time.
There are always conditions to an offender’s probation, but the exact rules depend on the specific case and the defendant’s history. Conditions may require routine and random drug screening, paying the fees for the drug testing, consistent reporting to a probation officer, the inability to own a firearm, paying restitution to victims of the crime, substance abuse classes or treatment, anger management classes, fees for treatment or classes, and no contact orders for victims or other individuals.
Your attorney can answer any of your questions regarding the terms of your probation to ensure you fully understand your rights and responsibilities.
Common Probation Violations
You can be punished for violating any of the terms of your probation, but certain violations are commonly discovered by the state, including:
- Leaving the state without approval
- Not informing your employer when required to do so
- Not paying all of your fees or restitution
- Refusing to take or failing a drug test
- Refusing to participate in or failing to complete a required class
- Failing to report in to the probation officer
- Getting arrested for a new crime
What Happens When A Violation Allegedly Occurs?
If your probation officer believes you’ve violated the terms of your parole, they will file paperwork with the court. The court then sets a hearing and a warrant may be issued. You can be arrested on a “no bond” hold and kept in jail until the initial hearing. You may also be offered bail in order to not remain jailed prior to your hearing but to secure your attendance in court. Or if the court finds it appropriate, you may merely receive a summons to appear in court.
You and your attorney will go before the court for an initial hearing on the alleged violations. At the hearing you will be explained the allegations, the burden of proof for the state, and your rights. You can admit or deny the allegations, and the court may determine if you need to be taken into custody.
Admitting a Violation
If you admit to the violation, your attorney and the attorney for Indiana will negotiate a fair penalty that the judge then approves or denies. It’s important to have your criminal defense lawyer with you during these proceedings. A prosecutor may seek a harsh penalty for a minor probation violation. You need your attorney to fight for your rights and seek to minimize the consequences of a violation.
Despite what your attorney negotiates with the state, the judge has the ultimate authority to determine your punishment. The judge can deny any recommendation for punishment and give a final order stating the penalty for the violation.
Typical punishments include community service, additional probationary terms, an extension of the probationary period, or revocation of your probation.
It’s important to remember that minor violations or honest mistakes may lead to minor punishments, but serious violations could send you to jail.
Contesting an Alleged Probation Violation
You do not have to plead guilty to a probation violation. If you deny the allegations, a contested hearing will be schedule. The burden of proof for the state in this situation is not as high as during a criminal trial. The standard is based upon the preponderance of the evidence, which means the state only has to prove that it was more likely than not that you committed the violation.
This hearing is not the same as a trial in front of a jury, though both sides will present their case to the judge. The state will offer up evidence that it is likely that you violated one or more terms of your probation. Your criminal defense attorney will show the holes or missing evidence in the state’s case while also providing evidence that you followed the terms of your probation.
Your Indianapolis Probation Violation Attorney
Probation violations need to be taken just as seriously as allegations of committing a crime. You wouldn’t head into court after being charged with theft or assault without an experienced criminal defense attorney and you shouldn’t head into a hearing for a probation violation without legal counsel. Your attorney is there to protect your rights and ensure that if you are found guilty of a violation, the punishment fits the situation.
The attorneys at Hessler Law understand how difficult it can be to adhere to strict requirements of probation. Maybe you missed a check in with your probation officer because something important came up. Maybe you weren’t able to complete your community service hours within the required amount of time. The lawyers at Hessler Law understand that life happens and people make mistakes. You shouldn’t be sent back to jail for it.
If you’ve been arrested or issued a summons for a probation violation, call the Indianapolis probation violation attorneys with Hessler Law at (317) 886-8800 to figure out what to do next.