Convincing a Judge Not to Lock You Up on a Violation of Probation
Help Your Lawyer Address the Reasons Why You Violated ProbationThe Court gave you a break and did not incarcerate you. You were given a list of the Standard Conditions of Probation, and the Court may have imposed one or more Special Conditions. One thing you do not want to do is appear in front of the Judge and say you forgot the conditions; that you lost the list of conditions; that the dog ate the list; or, that it was too difficult, time-consuming or inconvenient to peform the conditions. This is asking the Judge to incacerate you. Be prepared to tell the judge why you violated, and why an extension of probation is a better alternative for society then locking you up. If you get angry or insulting, you give the Judge a reason to believe that the probationary sentence is useless, and that you (and society) are not benefitting from you getting probation. Remember, this sentence was instead of getting locked-up. It was still a sentence, and you have to complete it to get the case behind you.
Provide Your Lawyer With Something to Support a Positive Spin on What You Have Been DoingHelp your lawyer to be prepared to show the Judge the efforts you made to comply with the conditions of probation. This is not a one-person show featuring your lawyer. The Judge has heard the lawyer before. The Judge wants to hear about you, and from you. Be prepared to stand up in front of the Judge and tell the Judge why you should not be sentenced to a period of incaceration. I'm sorry I couldn't do everything...is sometimes the best way to start.
If the allegation was that you missed appointments, be prepared to show how many you did make. If the allegation is that you got re-arrested for a new offense, be prepared to show that the matter was dismissed, or downgraded by producing the documents. Make sure you give the lawyer all of the documents you can to establish phone calls made; receipts from the payment of your fines; your report card from you attending a school or class; and, the check stubs from your job.
Give the Judge something positive to consider.