On probation? Violated the terms of your probation?
If you’ve been sentenced to probation instead of jail time you need to be very careful to follow the terms of the probation and your attorney can help you stay on track. Authorities in New York City and Long Island aggressively monitor probationers and will act swiftly if you violate the terms of your probation.
- In New York, probation is a sentence or case disposition where, after a conviction or guilty plea, you may be released into the community rather than sent to prison. Probationers are required to follow certain criteria and their performance is closely monitored by probation officers.
Failure to abide by the terms of your probation can mean revocation of the probation and being sentenced to jail time. The punishment for a probation violation will vary depending on the severity of the violation and your attorney may be able to retain your probation or limit the amount of jail time you face for the violation. Some common consequences for a violation are:
- Revocation of probation
- A longer probation term, community service or more stringent rehabilitation requirements
- Time spent on probation may not count toward the time of imprisonment
- You may be taken into custody and given the maximum sentence for the original crime
Some lawyers specialize in handling probation violations and you will want an attorney who has extensive experience fighting charges based on probation offenses. In order to commit a probation violation you have to be responsible for an additional criminal act or failing to meet the set conditions. So, your attorney will be fighting against the charges for that crime as well as the enhancement of your punishment for violating the terms of your probation.
- Fighting probation violations is similar to fighting other criminal charges because your lawyer will be trying to argue that there is insufficient evidence to convict you of the crime underlying the alleged violation.
- If you can’t be convicted of the additional crime, then the probation violation will, in most cases, be thrown out.
- Your criminal attorney may also argue that any legitimate probation violations were merely minor transgressions. For example, most probation requires the payment of fines, restitution, attending rehabilitative classes or abiding by a restraining order. If you’ve complied with all or most of these terms, your lawyer may be able to make a deal and avoid jail time.
This is a two pronged approach to fighting probation violations and only experienced defense counsel can successfully mount this kind of defense. Just because you committed a violation, you don’t necessarily have to go to jail. Hire an experienced New York criminal defense lawyer right away.
Probation terms can be quite complicated and difficult to follow
It is true that many people struggle with abiding by the terms of their probation. However, failure to do so can cause substantial complications for you. In some cases, you may be sent to jail for the original amount of time from your first conviction. In other cases you may have to serve out the remainder of your probation time in jail. The key is not allowing a violation to happen. Under Penal Law § 65.10 some requirements of probation may include:
- Staying up-to-date on your child support obligations
- Community service
- Have an ignition interlock device installed if you committed a DUI
- Refrain from owning or possessing a firearm
- Being required to stay within the jurisdiction or seek approval from a probation officer before leaving the jurisdiction
- Complete alcohol or other substance abuse recovery programs
You may not fully understand the terms of your probation or because of personal circumstances it may be very difficult for you to follow through. Many probationers struggle to find work or have conflicts with their family and the financial costs can be large because of fines and restitution. Even if you are abiding by the terms of your probation, an attorney’s counsel can help you understand your obligations and successfully complete your probation.
Many probationers struggle with their probation officers who can make life very difficult. In many cases, they have the legal right to conduct searches and question you without a warrant or even real suspicion. They may be cooperative and work with you on minor transgressions or they may immediately refer you to the court for a violation. Knowledgeable criminal attorneys can help to diffuse these situations and keep you out of jail.
What steps will you take if I am charged with a probation violation?
This will depend on the nature of your alleged violation. Probation hearings are conducted in front of a judge and you won’t get a jury decision. Under New York Correction Law § 274, a probation officer only needs to have reasonable cause to believe that you violated your probation through a violation of terms or commission of a new crime.
- The probation officer may then issue a warrant for your arrest
- You will have a hearing before the probation commissioner within 20 days of being arrested
- You are entitled to an attorney and may present evidence and witnesses just like in a criminal trial
- The commission will then enter a decision. The difficulty of probation violation hearings is that the standard of proof for finding guilt is lower than a normal criminal prosecution. Rather than proving you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, they only have to show that you violated your probation terms by a “preponderance of the evidence”. That means it is more likely than not that you violated the terms of your probation.
George Vomvolakis will evaluate the individual facts of your case and outline a course of action to combat the charges. He understands that dynamic of probation violation cases and knows how the prosecution will build their case. George is a renowned New York criminal defense attorney who has appeared as a guest on numerous television programs to share his legal expertise. All of his potential clients are given a friendly and complimentary case evaluation. Call today for a free evaluation of your case!