If you have violated your probation for any reason, you should expect to have to appear in court again for a probation violation hearing. These hearings are much like a standard court case. However, instead of appearing before a judge and jury, you will appear before a single judge who will hear the evidence to support your innocence or justification for the violation before deciding whether or not to revoke your probation or how the violation will otherwise affect your probation sentence.
PREPARING FOR THE VIOLATION HEARING
Like with your previous criminal case that resulted in probation as a punishment, your first step for a probation violation hearing should be to contact your lawyer. You have the right to representation and your lawyer will play a crucial role in the outcome of a case.
How a probation violation hearing works is that the judge will listen to the facts of the case as detailed by your probation officer. Say, for example, that you have been consistently late or missing scheduled meetings with your probation officer. That probation officer may give you a warning for the first time, but continually missing these meetings is a violation of your probation, so they have no choice but to issue it as a violation.
If the issue is taken to court, it is likely your probation officer will recommend that your probation be revoked, and their opinion has weight with the judge. Your lawyer will have the job of offering up evidence of your innocence in these violations or otherwise justifying them. In the above example, if you frequently missed meetings with your probation officer because your bus was late, your boss wouldn’t let you leave, and your mother was sick, this can serve as evidence to prove your presence was out of your control. Hospital records, time cards, and transportation records can all work to prove that you couldn’t have made it to these meet ups. Your lawyer will be able to gather this evidence in order to try to prevent revocation.
In some circumstances, a lawyer may also help you by arguing innocence. Instead of admitting that you did violate your probation, you can also argue innocence that the violation never happened. If you were indeed guilty of a violation, your lawyer may advise admitting guilt and providing mitigating evidence. However, if you are truly innocent, you will instead need to provide proof that the violation never happened.
Once the evidence has been presented, the judge will begin their deliberation. Not all probation violation hearings result in revocation. They could decide that the evidence was acceptable enough to justify the violation. Alternatively, they could decide that you were in violation, but it is not necessarily serious enough to send you to prison. In these cases, they will likely extend your probation duration. Any violations after this extension will likely result in revocation, however.
WHEN TO GET A LAWYER
You should contact your lawyer as soon as you receive the summons for your probation violation. Much of a lawyer’s job in these cases is gathering strong evidence, and for that, often their biggest ally is time. If you are innocent of the violation you are accused of or simply don’t want to risk revocation, you will need the help of a good criminal defense attorney to protect your probationary period.
If you have received a probation violation summons in Minnesota and definitely don’t want to go to jail, contact us today. The Speas Law Firm is dedicated to helping Minnesota residents fight the charges against them so they don’t have to endure the unpleasant punishments for their mistakes.