Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hennepin County Probation Violations (Explained)

So ... your case has been resolved .... and, as part of the settlement, you've been placed on probation.  Things were going good ... and then you slipped --- whether it was a bad UA or maybe a new criminal charge ... now you're facing a probation violation.  Now what?

Believe it or not Minnesota has some fairly generous sentencing conditions and first (heck, even second) time probation offenders can often have most or all of their jail time suspended - without going to prison - under certain conditions.  Yes, Virginia --- there are 2nd and 3rd chances ... but, you have to earn the,  This is where and experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney can be a good resource.  

What Should You Do?

Probation violations can come into being fast (and easily.) So, if there is talk - from your agent - that a violation is coming, you should be prepared to act as jail can happen. If you’re on probation, here are some very concrete steps you can take to avoid probation violations, or empower an attorney to beat a probation violation if one is filed. These steps can mean the difference between freedom and jail.

1. Maintain Your Own Record

One of the biggest problems Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyers face when helping someone with a probation violation is a lack of memory and the absence of a timeline.  So ... you are best served by keeping track of every call, letter and contact you have with your agent.  One thing you might want to consider ... get your agent's email address and communicate that way.  Then, keep those emails.  

2. Don't Disappear 

The easiest way to avoid problems - aside from following the court's orders to a "T" is to (especially is there is an "issue") keep in contact with your agent.Believe it or not, the biggest problem have while on probation ... it is not the occasional "slip," instead ... it is failing to communicate with your minder.  DO that ... and HUGE problems can be avoided.  TIP: The probation officer has no obligation to track you down. You should immediately inform your probation officer IN WRITING of your new address or phone number.

If you have not heard from your probation officer in a while, don’t assume everything is fine. Be proactive. Contact them out of the blue at least once a month if you haven’t heard from them and ask whether there is anything they need from you. Write it down that you contacted them, and what their response is if any. No news is not always good news. If they can’t find you, they can violate your probation for lack of contact.

Do not miss meetings with your probation officer.  You should make meetings with your probation officer an absolute priority, as much as getting to work on time or picking you kids up from school.  Missed meetings can result in a violation.  If you’re in jail, you can’t work, and you can’t parent.  Put your meeting dates into your calendar on your phone and set alarms on it days in advance.  Alternatively, write them down on your wall calendar or in a day planner.

3. Know Your Drugs.

Many medications can result in dirty UAs ... so, especially if this is the result of a valid prescribed drug that you are on ... more than you word, your agent is going to want to see proof.  Tip: Keep information about your medications. 

4. Save a Lawyer's Number on Your Phone

You are not required to admit to your agent that you may have violated your probation.  If you even think you’re going to face a violation, call an experienced lawyer before it’s even filed or brought up at a meeting --- and let that person do the talking for you.  A good lawyer should be able to give at least preliminary advice for free, but you should be prepared and save money up for the possible need to hire one if you face a probation violation. 

Don’t take too many chances, this is your liberty I'm talking about.  If you have any questions, please feel free to call the Rolloff Law Office for a FREE CONSULTATION: (612) 234-1165

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