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:
- 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;
- A retained lawyer is likely to spend more time on the file to properly address the probation violation at a hearing. Some accusations, such as falsely testing positive, may require the lawyer to even seek expert opinions and expert testimony;
- Even if the violation is entirely or partially true, the retained lawyer is more likely to obtain a full background history and documentation that will mitigate the sentence imposed. If a probation violation occurs, the probationer is resentenced on the original charge. If the probation violation is established, the probationer is at the mercy of the Court. That sentence can include incarceration, the loss of a status in the law that keeps the conviction off the record (for example: HYTA; 7411; 769.4a; MIP deferral), adding conditions to probation (for example: increased drug/alcohol testing; community service; rehabilitation), extending the length of probation to the maximum allowable period (most probations, depending upon the conviction, allow for either a 2 year or 5 year maximum period of time of probation).
- If the probation violation includes an accusation of new criminal activity, it s preferable to have the same lawyer address the new case and the probation violation. This will help reduce the chance of the probationer receiving an inconsistent result as to both cases. If the probationer is incarcerated, it will help to try and make sure the probationer is receiving concurrent jail credit for both files. It will help to try and avoid the probationer from having to duplicate conditions with two different courts (for example, the lawyer may be able to coordinate drug/alcohol testing with the same testing agency).
- An experienced lawyer may be able to tailor the defense to address any idiosyncrasies or quirks the Judge may have as it relates to a particular probation violation or Defendant. If the Judge does not like the probationer, it may help that the Judge likes the attorney or how the attorney addresses the issues of the case with the Court.
For outstanding criminal legal representation, attorney Daniel Hilf of Hilf & Hilf, PLC is great choice.