Probation is a very real sentence. Probation puts a defendant under the court’s strict supervision, through a probation officer, for a certain period of time. Most of the time, whether dealing with a felony or misdemeanor case, a probation sentence means you avoid jail time. Many defendants do not take probation seriously, though, and end up having the probation officer file a complaint against them seeking to revoke the probation. If this occurs, you can be assured that the defendant will spend the remainder balance of the probated sentence in jail. A lawyer can represent you at your probation hearing and argue against revocation. Here are a few tips to avoid common pitfalls for defendants on probated sentences.
District attorneys often try to use probation revocation hearings BEFORE a trial on new allegations. The standard of proof is only a preponderance of the evidence! That’s the same as the civil court standard of “more likely than not" versus the much heavier criminal standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt." Don’t be railroaded by this tactic!
Finally, defendants are often arrested on a probation revocation warrant requested by the probation officer. A defense attorney can seek a probation bond. If granted, this will prevent you from sitting in jail for weeks or months at a time waiting for a probation revocation hearing. An attorney can often force the State to schedule the hearing.