Friday, September 16, 2011
Minnesota Probation Violations (Explained)
Often as part of every criminal sentence meted out by a judge - for a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor and felony plea - is the prospect of being placed on Probation. In my opinion, the system would want one to believe that this is a type of leniency that allows a convicted individual to remain in or re-enter society. But, as anyone who has ever been placed on probation - there's often nothing too easy abou it.
Generally speaking, defendants may be sentenced only to a probationary term or probation may be granted after some time in custody has been served. If someone is place on probation, that person is often supervised by an agent - who is employed by the corrections system.
If you receive notice of a Probation Violation, or even if you just think you may have violated your probation but have not yet been suspected or accused of it, you should quickly contact an experienced Minnesota Probation Violation Defense Attorney.
Probation Violations (Defined)
Because Probation is a form of leniency, it can be revoked at any time. This often is the case when someone violates the terms of the probation sentence laid out by the judge. A few examples of such violations includes:incurring a new criminal charge, failing to submit to or failing a drug/alcohol test, moving - without informing your agent, missing a scheduled probation meeting, and/or failing to appear for court.
If You've Violated Your Probation
If you are suspected of committing a violation, you'll often receive notice of it and be ordered to appear in court. At a violation or Probation revocation hearing, the court will determine whether the violation actually occurred and then you'll be asked if you admit or deny the violation. If you deny it, the government must put forth evidence showing that it is more likely than not that you in fact did fail to follow the court's order. You'll also have a chance to put forth your own evidence. Then, the judge decides if that burden is met.
Probation Violations (Consequences)
If you're found to have violated your probation, there are a number of possible outcomes - good and bad, such as: continuing the probation without punishment for the violation, modifying the conditions of the probation or extending the length of probation, revoking the probation and executing the stayed (ie., suspended) jail sentence hanging over the violator's head. This basically means that your original sentence would be re-activated.
Probation Violations Defenses
Since the burden of proof is much lower at a Probation Violation hearing than at trial, it is very important that you be represented an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney. Often the best defense is no defense at all; rather, I've found that my best successes come when working with the government's lawyers to arrive at an agreement that elevates the need for a hearing and/or the harshest of consequences. Even if your violation stems from a new criminal offense, not only can I fight to win you a dismissal or acquittal on those charges - I can also work to ensure that the new sentence runs concurrently with (and not consecutively to) the probation sentence.
What Should You Do?
For a long time now, Minnesota law has recognized that people who have make a few, isolated mistakes while on probation should have the opportunity to not have that error to lead to the ultimate consequence. If you feel as though what you've read here applies to you, contact an experienced Minnesota Probation Violation Hearing Attorney to discuss your questions and concerns and to get the ball rolling working to ensure that your slip doesn't continue to hinder your future.