The Order to Show Cause Process for Violating Probation
Filing of an AffidavitBefore a court can modify, extend, or revoke probation unless it is established that the person on probation has violated probation. This is established through an evidentiary hearing with the court, but before that an affidavit must be filed with the court alleging with particularity the facts constituting the violation. In most cases, the affidavit is filed by a probation officer, a court clerk, or a prosecutor. Once the affidavit is filed the court will review it to determine whether it establishes probable cause to modify, extend, or revoke probation. If the court finds there is probable cause it can issue a warrant for the defendant's arrest or it can issue an order that the defendant show up for an order to show cause hearing.
The Order to Show Cause HearingWhen faced with an OSC, the defendant has to reply in open court to the allegations brought against him. He does this by admitting or denying each allegation in the affidavit. By admitting to the allegations the defendant opens himself up to the court's authority to penalize him by instituting any suspended jail time or other suspended terms of probation. Additionally, the court can revoke and reinstate probation, thereby extending probation for the defendant. If the defendant denies the allegations, the court will schedule an evidentiary hearing whereby the prosecutor has to prove that defendant violated the terms. He does this by presenting evidence, calling witnesses to testify, etc. It acts like a trial, but with no jury, just the judge. The judge decides whether there is enough evidence of violating the probation.