Your terms of probation are very specific. If you are facing a probation violation, you need to know which term you are accused of violating. Ask for clarification from your probation officer if you don't understand. Your probation officer should be able to point to a specific, enumerated term in your Judgment of Sentence.
Consider a Hearing
Defenses to probation violations differ in each courtroom. However, one thing remains generally consistent: you are very likely entitled to a hearing, wherein you can explain your behavior and support your defense. If a probation violation hearing is ultimately held, your simple explanation may not be enough. Remember that the probation officer and prosecution will have the opportunity to present evidence to the court that you violated the enumerated term(s).
Supporting your defense with documentation will strengthen your case. For example: You are violated for failing to report when required. Your defense: "I was in the hospital." Be sure you can support your hospitalization with documentation from the hospital. Failure to report because you were simply home sick or didn't want to face jail-time will very likely result in the entry of a probation violation.
It is important to know the playing field. It is critical to know how your individual judge and the probation department react to probation violations. A skilled attorney will be able to guide you through the probation violation process because he or she knows the tendencies and preferences of the judge, as well as the probation officers involved in your case. Remember, too, that if you hold a hearing and decide to do so without an attorney, you will perform the examination of witnesses. Consider whether you are ready to get involved to that extent.
Abstain from Drugs and Alcohol
A probation violation hearing and sentencing is a prime time for the judge to inquire about your drug and alcohol usage. No matter what the charge, it will help if your attorney is able to tell the judge that you are free from drugs and alcohol. Remember that THC from marijuana has been known to manifest in drug tests 30 days after the last use. Unless you have medical permission, you need to stop. Refraining from use of these substances can only help as you are presented to the court.
If the terms of your probation include finding employment, attending substance abuse meetings and enrolling in counseling, do it! It is important to demonstrate to the judge that you are taking all the terms of probation seriously. If you can show the judge that you are working hard on fulfilling his or her probation orders, it will really help you if you are ultimately found to have violated a term of probation. This will assist in getting you into the best position possible for your case.
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