Almost all criminal convictions result in some period of probation. If a probationer violates the terms of probation, the prosecutor or probation department may file a Petition to Revoke Probation (“PTR”) and ask the court to issue an arrest warrant. If a person is accused of violating probation, it is crucial to contact an experienced criminal attorney right away. Avoiding jail time often requires immediate action.
If a Petition to Revoke Probation has been filed, it is important to obtain a copy of the PTR to determine what it alleges. For example, in almost all DUI and drug-related cases, terms of probation require the completion of community service and an alcohol or drug abuse evaluation. Plea Agreements usually provide that if these terms are not completed in a timely manner, the defendant must serve a fixed period in jail. An experienced criminal attorney may be able to negotiate an extension of time.
If the PTR alleges the commission of a new crime, the defendant may face more serious consequences for the probation violation than even the new offense. In a pending criminal case, defendants have the right to a trial by jury and to force the prosecutor to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. However, in a probation violation hearing, the prosecutor only has to prove that it is more likely than not that a probation violation occurred. In addition, a PTR will be heard by a judge and not a jury.
If a person is charged with a new offense while on probation, an experienced criminal attorney may be able to negotiate a plea agreement in the new case that will dismiss the probation violation. A defendant should never appear in court for an initial hearing without an attorney, especially if they are on probation in another case. If a PTR has been filed, there could be an outstanding arrest warrant.
A defendant should never represent himself in accepting a plea agreement, even if the terms appear favorable. By accepting a plea agreement in a new case, a defendant will be required to admit the facts necessary to prove that they violated probation. If a person is on probation and a PTR is filed, they should contact an experienced criminal attorney immediately. Aggressive action is often required to avoid jail time or other sanctions on the PTR.
You need to act fast to protect your rights. Certain defenses and motions must be filed prior to deadlines set by the court. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys will develop a strategy to attack the evidence in your case. Schedule a free consultation now.