Once a person is put on probation, they must abide by court-ordered terms during their probationary period. This includes staying out of trouble with the law. Failing to meet these conditions means that a person has violated probation. A probation violation can be categorized as either a technical violation or a direct violation.
Technical Violations vs. Direct Violations
When a defendant fails to comply with one or more terms of probation, they will acquire a technical violation. Using drugs or alcohol, leaving the state without permission, or not completing community service hours, are examples of technical violation. Direct violations, on the other hand, occur when a defendant is convicted of a new offense. They are considered more serious in the eyes of the law. However, regardless of the nature of a probation violation, having one will undoubtedly warrant serious consequences in Montgomery County.
When the court is notified of an alleged violation, they will order you to attend multiple hearings. The initial hearing is scheduled almost immediately after the alleged violation is committed. It's typically pretty informal and is held before a magistrate or commissioner instead of a judge. Because it's scheduled so soon, many defendants don't have a chance to retain legal counsel. And this lack of representation comes with consequences. Defendants with direct violations or egregious technical violations are oftentimes issued a detainer - an order that prohibits defendants from being released from custody until matters are resolved.
Within 30 days of the initial hearing, a second hearing is usually scheduled. This hearing is formal and will be held before a judge. There are two objectives in this hearing. First, based on the evidence presented, a judge will decide if a violation did actually occur. If so, then it will be decided what consequences should be imposed. The worst case scenario entails being sent to prison for the remainder of a defendant's sentence or being re-sentenced. In both cases, defendants will get additional time.
Why You Need An Attorney
Too much is at stake for defendants not to retain an attorney when they are accused of violating probation. An attorney can file a motion to lift a detainer, so you can handle the potential violation and/or new charges outside of a jail cell. A legal professional can also challenge the validity of your alleged violation, and present a case that indicates incarceration isn't an effective solution in your case. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has been known to pull out all the stops to ensure his clients' outcomes are favorable, like inviting family members to speak on your behalf in court, and presenting evidence that shows you in a positive light.
Let Me Help You - Montgomery County Criminal Defense Attorney
For Montgomery County defendants facing potential incarceration for a probation violation, the stakes are extremely high. But it is possible to avoid a finding of a violation or imprisonment with the help of an experienced and skilled attorney. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped numerous defendants prevail in violation of probation hearings, as well as motions to lift a detainer. His representation has curtailed the consequences of potential violations and helped defendants avoid incarceration by fighting for alternative recommendations. For more information about how he can help you, contact him today.