This is a brief procedural guide for when your agent accuses you of violating your rules of supervision.
If your agent suspects you of violating your rules, you may be arrested and taken to the county jail. It will likely be a few days before you see your agent or another agent to discuss the allegations with you. The Department of Corrections investigates reported violations and will have some information before they visit you.
At this point, you have probably been in jail on a "hold" for at least a day or two. Your agent believes you violated your rules or you wouldn’t have been arrested. Unfortunately you are required to give a statement to your agent. While this statement cannot be used against youif new charges are filed, they can be used to revoke you. 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 which also means your agent will not read you any Miranda warnings. When your agent speaks with you, you are required to give a truthful statement. If your alleged violations involve drugs or alcohol, be receptive to treatment.
To revoke or not
Your agent now needs to determine whether to revoke you, release you with a warning or offer you an alternative to revocation. 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. If you haven’t already consulted an attorney now is the time to do so, before this decision is made. It may be possible for a good attorney to convince your agent not to revoke or at least to put you in the best possible position for your hearing.
Preparing for the revocation hearing
A good criminal defense attorney can make all the difference at a hearing. It is important to identify all of the issues and needs that you have. 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 argue for an appropriate alternative 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.
Many times a good attorney can stop you from being revoked. Many people consider probation revocations to be very difficult to win; however, they can be won or at least you can get a better sentence with proper preparation and can get valuable information if new charges are filed. These cases are defensible and should be approached aggressively. Not to mention, witnesses and alleged victims can be questioned at these hearings with no real attorney helping them (only the agents). This testimony can be invaluable to both sentencing if revoked, and new criminal charges if filed.
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