Anyone convicted of a crime will have to face certain penalties as punishment for their actions. In some cases, people serving time in jail or prison can be released on probation. Probation may also be chosen by a judge instead of jail time. When someone is on probation, they must follow specific rules and may be prohibited from certain behaviors. If they violate the terms of their probation, they might face increased penalties or be reincarcerated.
Probation allows people convicted of certain crimes to remain within their communities instead of being held in jail. The specific terms of someone’s probation will depend on the judge who sentences them as well as the circumstances of their conviction. Some common probation conditions include:
- Attending regular meetings with a probation officer
- Appearing at regularly scheduled court hearings
- Staying within a predetermined area unless permission is received
- Refraining from contact with certain individuals, especially any people involved in the crime that led to the probation
- Staying sober from drugs and alcohol
- Submitting to regularly scheduled or randomized alcohol and drug testing
- Not becoming involved in further criminal activity
- Finding and maintaining employment
- Completing certain programs enforced by the court, such as rehab or anger management
- Performing community service
- Registering as a sex offender if the conviction calls for it
- Paying court-ordered fines and legal fees
When someone completes their probation without violating any of its terms, they are usually free to move on with their life as they please. However, if someone fails to uphold the terms of their probation, chances are they will face additional penalties.
Violating the terms of a probation can be as simple as missing a single meeting with a probation officer. If someone fails to meet one of the requirements of their probation, they may not be able to continue with the arrangement. A probation officer and the judge who sentenced the person can decide to revoke the probation, sentence them to an alternative penalty, or allow them to try probation again.
Probation holds can be likened to time-outs. A probation officer can send someone to jail for a probation hold if they have reason to believe that person has violated the terms of their probation. This can also happen to anyone on probation who violates federal, state, or county laws during their arrangement. During this time, a probation agent will review the alleged violations.
The state of Wisconsin allows probation holds to go on for as long as 5 business days. However, extensions can be granted when an investigation is ongoing.
Probation Revocation Hearing
A probation revocation hearing will be scheduled if a probation agent investigates alleged violations and decides they want to proceed with revoking the arrangement. This hearing must take place within 50 days of the arrest made on suspicion of a violation. The jail may decide to release someone if that timeframe has been violated.
The purpose of the revocation hearing is to determine whether the alleged activity took place. The probation officer must also prove that the activity did in fact violate the probation terms in question. It will be up to the judge to decide whether the violation is serious enough to warrant revoking the probation altogether.
An experienced attorney can help someone craft a strong defense for their revocation hearing to ensure their probation can continue and they won’t be sent to jail. Some defenses for common probation violations include:
- Providing a legitimate excuse for missing a meeting with a probation officer, such as being hospitalized
- Proving the person in question is too poor to make payments on their court-ordered fines
- Proving that a positive drug test was the result of testing discrepancies or a false positive
- Proving the defendant had the drug they tested positive for in their system prior to being placed on probation (such as marijuana)
- Proving that someone the defendant wasn’t supposed to speak with initiated conversations that took place during the probation despite the defendant’s best efforts to avoid them.
We’re Here to Defend You
If you have been accused of violating your probation and need legal counsel, reach out to the Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella today. We understand that this is a scary and trying time, which is why our powerhouse legal advocate will work tirelessly to prove your probation terms were not violated. With over 20 years of experience, our attorney has a deep understanding of probation law and knows how to defend your charges to a judge most effectively.
Contact us online or at (414) 882-8382 for a free consultation.