CRIMINAL LAW: BEING PLACED ON PROBATION, PROBATION VIOLATIONS
If you have never been involved in the criminal system, you may not be aware of the plethora of conditions that may be imposed if you are placed on probation. First of all, you may be placed on probation immediately after sentencing or upon release from jail. The Judge will advise you at the time of sentencing as to whether you will be placed on probation. In Michigan, you can be placed on probation for a maximum of 2 years for a misdemeanor and 5 years for a felony conviction. Your rights will be limited while you are in the system during a term of probation. You may not be allowed to do things that would otherwise be legal (such as consuming alcohol) if you were not on probation. If you violate a condition of probation, even if the condition is an otherwise legal act (like drinking or traveling), you are subject to a probation violation hearing and face incarceration for the balance of any jail which has not been served with respect to the underlying case. Here is a list of possible conditions that may be ordered and imposed with respect to probation:
Do not leave the state of Michigan without approval from the court.
You may not drink alcohol or go to places where alcohol is served.
You may not be in the company of others who have a felony record or that are co-defendants in your case.
You may not be allowed to use or have a computer in your residence (for identity theft or cyber predators).
A curfew may be imposed.
You may be placed on house arrest with electronic monitoring.
You may be ordered to wear a sobriety/drug monitor.
You may be ordered to be registered and monitored by Global Positioning Satellites.
You may be ordered to pay restitution to any victims of your crime.
You may be ordered to stay away from any victims.
You may be ordered to attend counseling, parenting classes, AA, anger management or be placed in-patient.
You may have non-reporting probation or have supervised probation and be required to report weekly or monthly, in the discretion of the court.
You may be required to provide random alcohol or drug samples at such frequency as directed by the court or probation agent.
You will not be allowed to possess a firearm if you are convicted of a felony during your probation or thereafter. Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon is a felony!
HOW TO DEAL WITH PROBATION VIOLATIONS
Probation violations are serious proceedings and should be approached carefully and with competent legal representation. Being found guilty of a probation violation has several possible consequences. Major probation violations can result in extreme consequences include:
-Incarceration and revocation of any further probation -Losing a special status such as HYTA, 7411 or other arrangement to have a charge dismissed
Often, probation violations are manageable but may require some preemptive action on the part of the probationer. Saving a person from jail or being able to retain special sentencing options such as HYTA or 7411 are worthwhile goals in probation violation settings. The first thing that we do when someone receives notice of a probation violation is to find out the reason for the violation. I qualify violations as being either "major" or "minor".
Major violations consist of absconding from the jurisdiction or obtaining other criminal charges while on probation. A minor violation occurs when someone misses an appointment with the probation officer or missed a random test which was ordered by the court. In either case, managing the matter from the point of view of the judge is crucial. The judge may look at the violation as a flagrant disregard for a court order. It is the attorney's job to level the playing field and present plausible explanations for the behavior of someone that has violated probation. For example, if a client tests positive for drugs or alcohol while on probation, our firm may recommend that the individual ramp up AA/NA meetings, return to counseling or take other measures to offset the violation.
A legal solution for a probation violation is often possible. Even in extreme cases where the offender faces new criminal charges, there is often a way to lessen the harsh penalties. Avoidance of the problem or absconding from justice will only make matters worse in the long haul.