Do You Need a Lawyer for a Probation Violation?
Probation does not mean that you are free; instead, you must meet specific conditions to stay out of jail. Violating what seems like even a minor condition could result in serving the rest of your sentence in jail, extra fines, and possibly more time added to your sentence.
A probation violation is a serious accusation. Judges have zero tolerance for violations, and a violation can hold serious consequences. Therefore, if you have been accused of violating the terms of your probation, it is imperative that you contact a criminal defense attorney right away.
What to Expect from an Albuquerque Probation Officer for Your Violation
The results of a probation violation depend on the crime you committed, the term you violated, and the probation officer you are working with. The consequences you face can range from minor to severe, but include:
- A Direct Warning from Your Probation Officer: If you are a minor offender and this is your first violation, your probation officer might issue an official warning. They may notify you of the violation and tell you how to avoid it in the future. If you do not violate probation again after this, you should have no further issues and you would not need an attorney.
- You May Serve More Community Service Hours: Your probation officer might issue further community service hours for your violation as a way to correct your behavior.
- You Might be Required to Enter Rehabilitation: For drug or alcohol violations, your probation officer might force you to enroll in an inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation program. Note that these are not paid for by the state; instead, the cost would come out of your funds. If you refuse to enter the program, you could end up in jail.
- An Order for Counseling: If there was a mental or emotional reason for the violation, counseling might be the punishment you receive.
- Fines Issued by the Court: In some cases, the court could require more fines. The fine might be an additional fee you pay to the original victim of the crime or to the court itself. The fine amount will vary, and judges do have discretion when issuing violation fines.
- You May Serve a Few Days in Jail: Depending on the severity of the violation, your probation officer might report you to the judge, and the judge may require that you serve a few extra days in jail. Note, this is not a revocation of your probation. Instead, you serve a punishment sentence of a few days to correct the behavior.
- Increasing Your Probationary Period: A common punishment is issuing a longer probation sentence. Unfortunately, the longer you are under probation, the easier it is to make a technical violation and wind up in jail. Therefore, do not assume you got off easy if all you receive is an extended probation period. Instead, this puts you at higher risk for revocation.
- Revoking Probation Entirely: Serious violations result in revocation by a judge. This means your probation is rescinded, you are arrested, and you serve the rest of your sentence in jail or prison. The remaining amount of your original sentence is the amount of time you would serve in jail – which could be months or years, depending on the offense.
- Issuing New Charges: If the violation was a crime, the judge will consider your criminal history and not only revoke your probation, but most likely issue a harsher punishment for the second crime because you committed that crime while on probation.
The Probation Violation Hearing
Regardless of the violation, your probation officer notifies you of the alleged violation and you receive a probation violation hearing.
This is your opportunity to defend yourself. Probation officers have broad discretion. And while they could warn a defendant, sometimes they prefer to send them to court and impose a harsher consequence for a violation. Probation officers are also human, which means they still treat their parolees with bias – regardless of the fact that they are supposed to remain impartial.
If you have been notified of a probation violation hearing, it is imperative that you hire an attorney.
While you could end up with nothing more than community service hours or additional fines, the risks are high in these cases. You could have extended probation, jail time, or face new charges entirely.
Probation is not a right. Therefore, the judge is not violating your rights if they rescind it. Instead, it is a benefit for good behavior and one that the courts have no issue removing.
Sometimes, defendants have good reasons for their violations, and these reasons must be argued in court to the judge. Perhaps you missed a meeting because of an illness, or you attended the meeting but there was an error. An attorney can advocate for you, argue against the harsher penalties, and help keep you out of jail for a minor violation.
If your violation involves late payment of fines, your attorney can negotiate with the court to give you more time due to financial stress.
Bottom line, an attorney is there to serve as your voice. They understand the procedures, know how probation officers and judges work in these hearings, and can help achieve a better outcome than you attempting to defend yourself alone against a technical violation.
Hire a Criminal Attorney for Your Probation Violation Today
Probation violation hearings are serious, and they may have life-altering effects that you might not anticipate. If you have been accused of violating your probation terms, it is imperative you speak with an attorney that has years of experience helping clients in similar situations.
At New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, we have helped clients through probation violation hearings and our team is committed to each client. We work hard to obtain the best possible outcome in your case, and we can advise you during your probation so that you can avoid these hearings and potential punishments.
Schedule a free consultation now with our attorneys by calling 505-200-2982 or request more information online.