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Probation Violations

Proving a Violation of Probation

When you are charged with a criminal offense, the Commonwealth has to prove each element of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt.  But once you are on probation, the Commonwealth can prove a violation of your probation on a much lower standard.  All the Commonwealth has to show is that there is convincing evidence you violated one of the conditions of your probation.  Many times, a criminal case can be defensible, but if the defendant is also on probation, defending that violation can be much more difficult. 

Probation cases are defensible, but those defenses have to be investigated and prepare before the hearing.  Every minor, technical violation of your probation conditions is entered on your probation record, and when probation officers decide to allege that a violation occurred, they will often pile on all of the old violations that they have in their records.

Defending Alleged Violations of Probation

Whether the probation department can prove that a violation occurred depends on the facts of your case.  Proving a violation of probation is much easier than proving a criminal offense, but the burden is still on the probation department to bring in evidence of your violation.  If you are facing a probation violation hearing, you should contact me as soon as possible to set up a free consultation where we can discuss whether the probation department is going to be able to make its case.

The great majority of probation violation work comes in working with the probation department to find a resolution that satisfies both parties, but even when the probation department is not willing to work with you, a good lawyer can work to get the judge on your side and ask the judge not to impose the penalties the probation department is asking for.

Finally, you must continue to comply with the terms of your probation, including checking-in with your probation officer, even when a violation hearing is pending.  The probation department seldom advises probationers that, even while they are asking the court to revoke the probation and send the probationer to jail, they are still recording any missed visits or other violations to be used at the hearing.  It's a trap that too many people fall into, and it is one of many that can be easily avoided by contacting a lawyer.