Probation is a term used in criminal law that refers to an alternative punishment to jail time. In agreeing to the terms of probation, the individual is expected to follow specific rules and expectations. The terms may include but are not limited to meeting with a parole officer as scheduled, scheduled court appearances, agreeing to random drug tests, avoiding certain people or places, obeying all laws, and paying any fines or restitution.
What if I violate the terms of my probation?
Some of the more common probation violations involve failing a drug test, missing a scheduled appointment with the probation officer or missing a court date. In some cases, the probation officer may decide to provide a warning and may not take the violation any further than that. Otherwise, you will likely be required to attend a probation revocation hearing. If you are facing a probation revocation hearing, it is within your rights to have legal representation. If this is your situation, now is the time to contact experienced CA criminal defense attorneys in San Francisco to build a strong defense.
How can an attorney help me?
The average person does not have a full understanding of how the legal system works, that is, unless they are a defense attorney themselves. An attorney can provide information, answer questions, strategize for your behalf, represent you in court, gather evidence to explain why your violation happened, organize to have you attend counseling (or other programs as an alternative to jail), negotiate with the DA, and so much more. We have been able to help our past clients avoid the harshest punishments associated with a probation violation, and know how to handle your case. If you are interested in hearing more, call our law office right now.
What happens after I am accused of violating the terms of my probation?
An officer will make an arrest based on the details they get from the DA or your probation officer. The court may issue a warrant for your arrest, or you may have to appear in front of a judge in court on an assigned date. Whatever happens in response to violating the terms of your probation, we suggest contacting an attorney as soon as you know that you have been accused. The first time you attend court, there are a few things that may happen:
- The judge will ask whether you deny or admit to the violations
- The prosecutor will show evidence of your alleged violations
- The judge may summarily revoke your probation, which means probation conditions will stay in effect, but halts the clock on your probationary period
- The judge will set a hearing date
- The judge will decide whether you are to be given bail until the hearing date
It is ill-advised to go into your first court hearing after violating probation without having prepared and consulted with an attorney. Your liberty is at stake, and you may not be entitled for bail. So this is why it is imperative that you speak with an attorney promptly after the violation, so they have time to develop a strategy to keep you out of jail, if at all possible.
Will I have to stay in jail while I await my probation hearing?
There is no right to bail for probation violation cases, so there is a chance you will be held until your probation hearing. When you first attend court, the judge will choose whether you can be released, or remain in jail until the hearing. The prosecution may argue that because you broke your probation, you may attempt to avoid your hearing and associated repercussions.
However, with help from a qualified attorney, they can bring evidence to show that you do not pose a risk to anyone, had done your best to comply with orders, and will surely attend the hearing. When an attorney from the Morales Law Firm is able to work with a client in the early stages, they can help clients take steps to show the court that the matter is being taken seriously. The judge will assess these factors for whether you will be given bail or not:
- The safety of the public
- The safety of the victim and his or her family
- The severity of the charges against you
- Efforts made for rehabilitation
- Chances that the probationer will show up to their hearing
What should I expect from my revocation hearing?
During the revocation hearing, the defense and prosecution will present evidence and opinions regarding the defendant’s alleged violation. The prosecution is required to show a burden of proof, which is much less rigid, and easier to argue, than “beyond a reasonable doubt”. In addition, the judge has many options to choose from when deciding on the consequence for the violation. He or she may revoke the probation and reinstate the original term that was suspended for the probation option, extend the probation term, or keep the terms the same.
In order to avoid the worst case scenario, it is a good idea to work with experienced defense attorneys who will fight relentlessly on your behalf.
Contact The Morales Law Firm
At The Morales Law Firm, our criminal defense attorney San Francisco, CA residents trust knows that having to speak before a judge for a probation violation can be one of the most stressful situations a person can face. It is therefore important to have a strong advocate by your side as you navigate accusations of violating the terms of your parole. Unless it is clear that you have been falsely accused of the violation, the judge overseeing your case will likely feel it is necessary to impose consequences for a parole violation.
Working with an experienced team can help to ensure that if a judge feels compelled to hand down consequences in your situation that they are as “light” as possible. It is not always possible to avoid consequences after violating parole. But working with the experienced team at the Morales Law Firm can help to ensure that these consequences are as manageable as possible under the circumstances.
It is advised for anyone who is facing probation violation consequences to seek representation from a reputable and knowledgeable defense attorney. When the prosecution has been tasked with making sure you face consequences for your alleged parole violation, you need an experienced defender in your corner. Please schedule a consultation with our experienced San Francisco, CA criminal defense attorney today at The Morales Law Firm.