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Options When You Face a Probation Revocation

Every week, our firm receives numerous calls in connection with people facing probation revocations. Probation revocations are triggered when the probation officer prepares a report to the judge detailing an alleged violation and then requesting that the court take action. The judge has wide discretion in deciding what to do. Depending on the type of violation, the court may require additional conditions such as treatment, electronic monitoring, home confinement and shock jail time.

If the court orders new conditions of probation, the good news is that original probation is continued. Short of having the defendant discharged from termination, continuing the probation term is almost always the goal. However, there are times where it may be in the client’s best interest to admit the alleged violations and accept revocation. For example, we recently had a client whose original sentence was five years. The court originally suspended execution of that sentence and he was placed on probation. He had completed almost four years of that probation but had been before the judge on two prior occasions for violations. We were able to continue his probation on both of those occasions but on the third violation, his options were to go through a 90 day drug treatment program and extend the term of his probation upon completion, or revoke his probation and serve his sentence. The court agreed to credit him two years for his probation time so he was down to a three year sentence. Because of his crime classification, he would only end up serving 20% of that time (about six months) before he was paroled. Additionally, the client was not a good candidate for successful completion of the drug program or of extended probation. Consequently, in this case, he was better off serving the time than entering treatment and then being on an extended period of probation.

Every case is different and the attorney and client need to think through the options presented and keep an open mind. If you are facing a probation revocation, seek counsel to ensure you receive the best possible resolution.

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