How to Handle Probation Violations in Wisconsin


Posted over 6 years ago. Applies to Wisconsin, 33 helpful votes



Your agent has taken you into custody

As a preliminary matter, if your agent suspects you of violating your rules of supervision, you may be taken into custody. Typically, you will be initially housed at the county jail. It may be a few days before you see your agent or a cover agent investigating the allegations. The Department of Corrections investigates reported probation violations and will have some preliminary information at their disposal before anyone visits you.


An agent comes to speak with you

At this point, you have probably been in jail on a "hold" for at least a day or two. The agent suspects that you have violated rules of supervision. In Wisconsin, a person is required to give a statement to their agent. This statement cannot be used against you in the context of a criminal prosecution, if one develops. The reason it can't be used in a criminal prosecution is because you're required to give the statement and therefore it constitutes a compelled statement. An agent does not have to read Miranda warnings before this point. When the agent speaks with you, you are required to give a truthful statement. If you have AODA treatment needs or mental health treatment needs, or if your suspected violations relate to these conditions, make sure to express it.


The agent decides to revoke your probation

You should have already consulted with a lawyer at the outset. Now it is more critical than ever. Probation revocations can be much more critical than ordinary criminal cases. There are only two outcomes in a probation revocation - your supervision is either revoked or not revoked. If it is revoked, there is only one question - how much time you will be locked up for. If your probation is not revoked you cannot be held in jail by your agent beyond the appellate time period window.


Preparing for the revocation hearing

A skilled lawyer will know the proper analysis in order to prepare for the revocation hearing. It is important to identify all of the issues and needs that the client has. You should hire somebody who can effectively advocate your interests and can negotiate with the probation agent. If the case goes to hearing, you need to be prepared to illustrate proper alternatives to revocation. You should also be prepared to defend vigorously against false allegations. Remember, criminal cases are often prosecuted in conjunction with probation revocations - a revocation hearing can be one opportunity to confront your accusers in an informal setting.



Probation revocations are as critical or more critical than ordinary criminal cases. Many people consider probation revocations to be unwinable. Nothing could be further from the truth. These cases are defensible and should be approached aggressively. There are often very mitigating circumstances that can help persuade the probation department that an alternative is appropriate. When the agents won't agree, sometimes a judge can be persuaded. If, in the end, your supervision is revoked, sometimes you will have to go back to court for resentencing. If the mitigating factors and treatment needs have been effectively analyzed and addressed, the sentencing judge may give you a lenient sentence or order treatment programs through the prison system.

Additional Resources

Kuchler & Cotton Law Offices

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