Articles Posted in Probation Violation

Jail for a probation violation?  Seriously?  With a probation violation the Judge has that option.

Being incarcerated is no place for anyone to be.  Losing your job, losing a place to live, having to start over from scratch – life is hard enough without all this stress.  But maybe the Judge made things impossible.   You worry about work, worry about family, paying bills, and on top of that the Court is having you drug test, go to support meetings, hours and hours of community service.  It seems like maybe the Court does not want you to be successful.  You try your best and you still receive a letter in the mail for probation violation.  Your heart is racing.  Stress, anxiety, fear take over.  You ask yourself what should you do?

These are 12 proven and effective strategies that give you the best chance of avoiding jail.  This advice is from a seasoned lawyer with years of experience both inside and outside the courtroom.

In Michigan when an individual is charged with probation violation the Court can either issue a summons directing the probationer to appear before the Court or issue an arrest warrant.  The Court has an obligation under Michigan Court Rule 6.445 to make sure that the probationer receives written notice of the alleged violation.

When the probationer appears before the Court, the Judge must advise the probationer that he or she has a right to a contested hearing.  The probationer has a right to retain counsel to defend him or her at the contested hearing, and may petition the Court for a public defender if the probationer is financially unable to afford a lawyer.

The probationer has the option to admit to the probation violation instead of having a contested hearing.  If the probationer pleads guilty, he or she gives up the following rights:

An accusation of probation violation will result in a court date with the Judge who sentenced you or the Judge who is now in charge of your original Judge’s docket.  Probation violations are often treated seriously by Judges for a number of reasons, including: protecting the integrity of the judicial system, protection of the community, deterring others from violating probation, deterring the probationer from reoffending, and the need to rehabilitate the offender.

Whether or not the probation violation will result in a jail or prison sentence depends upon a number of factors:

  1.  Did the probationer actually violate his or her probation?  The probationer has the right to a contested hearing before the Judge assigned to the case.  At that hearing the probationer is presumed innocent, and it is up to the prosecution to prove by a preponderance of the evidence (that it is more likely than not true that he or she violated his or her probation).  The probationer has the right to be represented by a lawyer.  The probationer has the right to cross examine witnesses, and subpoena witnesses.  The probationer can choose to testify or remain silence and not have the silence considered against the probationer in any way.  If the probation violation cannot be proven, the probationer has the right to continue on probation.

When a probation agent believes that a probation violation occurs, sometimes an arrest warrant is issued by the Judge to address the situation.  On other occasions, the probationer receives notice in the mail to appear on a particular date to address the probation violation.  It is also not uncommon for the probationer to be brought before the Judge when the probationer appears for their regular report date.  How the situation is addressed depends on the Court and the nature of the alleged violation (for example, a Judge may feel more of an urgency to immediately address the situation of a DUI probationer who allegedly continues to consume alcohol because the Judge may believe the public is at risk).  The Judge has the ability to set a bond, and bond conditions, when the probationer is arraigned on the probation violation.  At the arraignment on the probation violation the probationer is advised in writing of the violation(s) that are pending.  The probationer has the ability to retain counsel to address the probation violation, or request court appointed counsel if indigent (and if there is a chance that the probationer can be incarcerated).

It is in the probationer’s best interest to retain counsel for a probation violation for the following reasons:

  1.  The probationer often is not afforded counsel for arraignment purposes.  Having a retained lawyer increases the opportunity for the probationer to obtain a reasonable bond;


It happened again. You’ve violated your probation for a second time and jail time is looking very possible in your future.

Whether it was a failed drug test, not reporting to your probation officer or being arrested for a new offense, the judge will likely be much less lenient the second time around. So, what should you expect to happen?

According to, here are some of the consequences that come with violating probation:

Are you facing accusations of probation violations? These allegations should not be taken lightly because this is a criminal charge with serious consequences including incarceration or probation extension. Hiring an experienced criminal defense or probation is critical to your case. Every individual has the right to challenge allegations made against them regarding probation violations. However, it’s important to act quickly.

In many states, those who are charged with crimes could receive probation instead of jail time depending on the nature of their crime. However, if these individuals violate the conditions of their probation, it could result in incarceration.

Probation Violation and Legal Consequences

If you’ve been convicted of a crime, it’s natural to hope for a sentence of probation rather than jail time. After all, probation allows you to stay out of the harsh environment of a jail or prison, and you’ll still be able to live your live relatively normally as long as you stay within the guidelines of your probation. However, if you’ve been accused of violating your probation, you could be in for harsh consequences, including hefty fines, added conditions to probation, the loss of a status to keep the incarceration from a public record (if applicable), or even incarceration. It’s a serious situation, and you should know how to deal with it in a way that will protect your rights.

Contact Your Probation Officer

Your probation officer will have a tremendous amount of leeway when deciding how to respond to a potential probation violation. Make sure to contact them early, and have a detailed explanation for what happened. Don’t give excuses, but explain the events in a respectful, apologetic tone. Make sure to have supplemental material and proof to back up your account. If your officer is inclined to be a little bit lenient, you might get off with a warning. If the officer is intent on setting a court date, however, your options start to narrow down quite a bit.

Parole Violation Attorney
After getting being released on parole, many former offenders will start to think that maybe their long nightmare of incarceration is over, and that they can finally begin to put their lives together. Unfortunately, for many parole is actually the beginning of a whole new kind of insanity. The sheer strictness of the rules that you have to follow and the strong penalty for failing to comply can be difficult to handle, especially when the rules interfere with your ability to get your life back on track after an incarceration.

Some of the most common things that can get you in trouble for violating probation are:

  • Using drugs or alcohol, or failing to submit to a drug test

A very common violation of probation allegation in Michigan and elsewhere is for using or testing positive for drugs or alcohol while on probation.  The punishment for drug or alcohol related violation of probation can include one or a combination of any of the following: no sanction; added conditions of probation such as increased drug/alcohol testing, drug treatment, AA/NA meeting attendance, community service, etc.; extending the term of probation; requiring Adult Treatment Court program participation (if the Court has an Adult Treatment Court program); incarceration of various lengths up to the maximum allowable sentence that can be imposed.

Judges differ in philosophy in terms of how they view a positive drug or alcohol test.  Some Judges view a relapse, or relapses, as a part of recovery and may be willing to invest additional resources into the probationer to address the drug and/or alcohol problem.  Other Judges have a no tolerance view of a positive drug or alcohol test, and want their reputation of strictness to deter a probationer, and others, from use.  There are Judges that combine these philosophies and balance rehabilitation with punishment.  A Court usually will eventually give up on a person who repeatedly violates their probation, and will usually choose to incarcerate the person.
There are circumstances in which a person will falsely test positive for drugs.  A positive drug screen is often sent for additional analysis to confirm or negate the original test.  Drug and alcohol testing is viewed as reliable by Courts, and it is often hard to overcome a positive test at a probation violation hearing.  Reasons why someone might wrongfully test positive for drugs or alcohol include: the person tested positive for a valid prescription that he or she was taking; the person ingested a substance that could lead to a false positive such as poppy seeds, vanilla, or mouthwash; there was a human error regarding the testing procedures, etc.  Any error in drug testing should be contested by an experienced criminal defense lawyer, such as Attorney Daniel Hilf.

When an individual is placed on probation in Michigan, there is a determination made by the probation department and/or the sentencing Court as to type of supervision that a probationer receives.  A failure to comply with supervision, and the terms of probation, subjects the probationer to a violation of probation.  For any criminal law issues, it is recommended that you retain attorney Daniel Hilf of the law firm of Hilf & Hilf, PLC.

Non reporting probation – sometimes a Court will allow a probationer to remain totally unsupervised during the period of probation.  However, before the probationer is released from probation a probation officer verifies that the conditions of probation were met (for example, fines were paid, community service was done, etc.), and also does a LEIN check to see if any new criminal activity occurred.
Mail in probation – usually occurs for misdemeanor convictions where the probationer resides in a location far from the Court which imposed the sentence.  If allowed, the probationer must keep in regular (usually monthly) contact with his or her probation officer through U.S. mail.  The probation agent tries to verify the compliance of the probationer with any ordered conditions.
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