Winning a Probation Violation Hearing
The great thing about probation is that it allows you to serve your sentence without having to go into custody. However, felony probation sentences have strict conditions such as meeting up with the probation supervisor monthly, attending court-order programs or counseling, or refraining from breaking any laws that the defendant strictly has to follow. Thus, it is vital that the defendant fully understands the conditions they are expected to follow and is meticulously about ensuring they are accomplished and probation is not violated.
If one of the conditions mandated by their probation sentence is violated. This could trigger a probation violation hearing.
What Happens When a Probation Violation Hearing (PVH) Is Initiated?
A probation violation hearing is a legal proceeding that occurs whenever a defendant is accused of violating one of the terms of their probation. This hearing is meant to help the judge figure out whether the defendant actually breached the terms of the probation and decide what the accused’s fate shall be if they are found guilty.
In most cases, it is usually the defendant’s probation officer that initiates the probation violation hearing since they are the most likely candidate to find the defendant in violation. Nonetheless, a judge or a prosecutor can initiate one of these hearings.
Once a PVH is launched, the judge that presides over the defendant’s initial case will issue a bench warrant. A bench warrant is different from an arrest warrant since while arrest warrant is issued when an individual is accused of criminal activity. A bench warrant is issued when a defendant violates probation, fails to appear in court, or refuses to follow a court order. The bench warrant will authorize the defendant to be arrested and brought before the court.
Winning A Probation Violation Hearing
You should know that a probation violation hearing requires a lower burden of proof than a normal criminal case. In fact, hearsay evidence is admissible during a PVH. Thus, all the prosecutor needs to do is provide evidence that the defendant likely committed the probationary evidence.
Thus, considering these stakes, if you find yourself being called for a probation violation hearing, the first thing you need to do is get an experienced lawyer (if you do not already have one). An experienced lawyer can help you gather the evidence you need to prove that you did not violate any of the terms and conditions demanded by your probation sentence.
An experienced lawyer can bring your probation officer to question during your hearing and apply the right strategies to ensure that the judge is convinced that your probation officer is wrong about you violating the conditions of your probation.
A lawyer may also advise you on the best mentors to call to help you during your probation violation hearing. Mentors are reliable and admired individuals in the defendant’s community that interacted with the defendant during the probation period and can appear before the court during the defendant’s PVH hearing. The right mentors can show the defendant as a reliable member of the community, which can go a long way in convincing the judge that the defendant did not breach the terms of their probation.
Plus, in case you are actually guilty of violating your probation, your lawyer can also help you provide mitigating evidence that will help you lessen any punishment the court may choose to grant you for breaching your probation. Furthermore, your lawyer will also ensure that the defendant gets credit for any jail time they previously served for the crime they committed.
The fact is when you want to win a probation violation hearing, the best chance you have is ensuring you have the right representation.
What Happens After A Probation Violation Hearing?
Once the PVH is over, it will be up to the judge to determine whether the defendant violated any of the terms and conditions of their probation. If the defendant is found not guilty, they will simply be released to continue under the same probation conditions they were using before.
Nevertheless, if the judge does find you in breach, three things can happen. The judge can either:
- Reinstate the probation on the same terms and conditions as before
- Modify the conditions of your probation with more severe terms
- Revoke the probation sentence and put the defendant into custody
Therefore, if you need a qualified attorney to help you win your probation violation hearing. You can count on our law firm to help.
Need a Probation Violation Attorney?
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Seppi Esfandi is an Expert Criminal Defense Attorney who has over 21 years of practice defending a variety of criminal cases.