Although probation is often a better alternative than jail time, avoiding a probation violation can feel like walking on a balance beam. A small mistake or miscalculation can land you back in court, facing accusations of violating the terms of your probation.
A probation violation can result in you serving time in jail, monetary penalties, and additional conditions being imposed. The best way to protect your rights after an alleged infraction is by contacting a Boulder probation violation lawyer to represent you. An attorney at The Ferrell Law Firm, PLLC, can review the circumstances of your case and create a strategy to defend your rights. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment with a member of our team.
What Is a Probation Violation?
Probation is a form of supervised release available instead of jail time. The court will impose various conditions based on factors such as:
- Criminal history,
- Nature of the crime,
- The seriousness of the offense, and
- Victims impacted by the crime.
Failing to comply with your probation conditions is considered a violation. Violating your probation terms can land you in a probation revocation hearing.
What Kind of Probation Violations Exist in Colorado?
The court has broad discretion to impose probationary conditions that it deems “reasonably necessary to ensure the defendant will lead a law-abiding life and to assist the defendant in doing so.” Examples of general probation conditions include:
- Refrain from committing further crimes during the probationary period,
- Comply with substance abuse testing and treatment,
- Comply with court orders regarding sex offender registration,
- Undergo medical or psychiatric treatment in a specified institution,
- Refrain from possessing a firearm or dangerous weapon,
- Pay any associated fines and court costs,
- Complete community service hours,
- Report to a probation officer regularly,
- Respond to reasonable inquiries by your probation officer,
- Be subject to house arrest or GPS monitoring, and
- Notify your probation officer of any change in address or employment.
In domestic violence cases, the court can impose additional conditions specific to those charges. For example, the court may require the accused to comply with family support orders and protection orders as a condition of their probation. Someone on probation for a drug offense may be forced to submit a clean drug sample weekly as a condition of their probation.
The conditions of your probation will depend on the specific circumstances of your criminal case.
How Do Probation Officers Discover and Report Probation Violations?
A probation officer can discover probation violations in several different ways. Any person aware of your probation conditions can notify your probation officer of your infraction. The probation officer can also learn about the violation independently if the accused fails to attend a mandatory check-in or tests positive for a prohibited substance.
Probation officers are not required to issue a summons and seek the individual’s arrest every time they commit a minor violation. They can have an informal discussion with them about the violation and future expectations.
The probation officer may report the violation to the court in other cases. Consequently, the prosecutor may file a Motion to Revoke Probation (MRP), leading to a probation violation hearing.
What Happens at a Probation Violation Hearing?
After the accusation of a probation violation, you will likely be detained until your probation violation hearing. At this hearing, the court will decide whether your probationary sentence should:
- Be revoked,
- Stay in place, or
- Have different probationary conditions.
If the court decides to revoke your probation, you will go to jail for the offense underlying your probation sentence. You have the right to a Boulder probation violation lawyer at this hearing to argue your case, but you do not have the right to a jury. The prosecutor will present the judge with evidence of your probation violation, and your attorney can respond to their accusations. The state has the burden of proving that you violated the terms of your probation beyond a reasonable doubt. The rules for a probation violation hearing are much more flexible than those that apply to the criminal trial. For example, the prosecutor can use hearsay evidence to prove the violation as long as the accused can respond. Additionally, the refusal to answer any questions can be used against you.
Your attorney can respond to the prosecutor’s evidence with any information that creates doubt about your probation violation. This may include eyewitness testimony, proof of an alibi, or another legal defense. If you admit the probation violation, your attorney can negotiate to keep you from spending a night in jail. We may be able to add another condition to your probation to assure the court that you will not commit another violation in the future.
The judge will issue their decision in a probation violation hearing within seven days. If the court revokes your probation, it can impose any criminal sentence or grant probationary terms that the criminal court presiding over your case could have originally imposed.
How Can a Boulder Probation Violation Attorney Help My Case? Contact The Ferrell Law Firm Today to Find Out
Receiving a probation term instead of imprisonment is often the ultimate goal of criminal prosecution. This victorious feeling can fade away in the blink of an eye if your probation is revoked. The best way to avoid jail time and minimize the consequences of a Boulder probation violation lawsuit is to hire a qualified attorney at The Ferrell Law Firm.
Our founding attorney, Michael Ferrell, has experience working for the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office and the Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office. This experience gives him valuable knowledge about what prosecutors use to prove their cases. He also gained valuable experience handling all types of criminal cases, including probation violation cases. Michael dedicates his legal practice to helping clients navigate criminal charges in Boulder and surrounding areas.
Our team at The Ferrell Law Firm, PLLC, is ready and willing to guide you through the probation violation process and help secure a favorable outcome. Contact our team today to discuss your case with a probation violation lawyer.