Probation may be assigned instead of other penalties after a criminal conviction, giving the offender a chance to move forward.
However, mistakes and misunderstandings can happen, leading to probation violations and the possible reinstatement of the original sentence.
Find out how the probation lawyers at The Dadvocates help clients throughout Colorado minimize the consequences of these violations...
Who Is Eligible for Probation?
Criminal offenders can apply for probation, though the request may not be granted in every case. If you have been charged with a crime, our lawyers will work to get the penalties of your sentence reduced. In many cases, probation is the most favorable outcome.
Typically, individuals that have been convicted of two felonies under Colorado or federal law aren't eligible for this reduced sentencing option. However, a District Attorney can ask that this restriction be waived for non-violent offenders with no felony convictions for crimes of violence such as manslaughter, second degree burglary, and offenses against children.
Supervised and Unsupervised Probation
Supervised ProbationSupervised probation is the most common form of probation. Probationers are required to abide by the terms of their probation while also reporting to a probation officer and attending probation meetings.
Unsupervised ProbationProbationers on unsupervised probation do not have a probation officer but still must follow sentencing requirements. Those on unsupervised probation will need to report progress directly to the court.
What Constitutes a Probation Violation?
If you violate the terms of your probation, it can be reported by your probation officer or another authorized agency overseeing your case.
Some types of probation violations include:
Is Your Probation In Jeopardy? Contact Our Lawyers for Immediate Help
The criminal defense lawyers of The Dadvocates are here to provide you with immediate legal advice if you have been accused of violating the terms of your probation or have been arrested for a new crime. We will listen to you and recommend the best course of action.
No matter the circumstances of your case, our goal is to help you avoid incarceration and mitigate any consequences you're facing. We can also help with an appeal when prudent.
For more information about the probation hearing process and what to expect, contact us online or call our legal office for immediate assistance. We are headquartered in Denver, but have attorneys across the state ready to help you.
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Technical vs. Substantive Probation Violations
Technical violations occur when a probationer fails to abide by the terms of their probation. This includes violating curfew, lack of employment, testing positive for drug or alcohol use, and failure to meet with the probation officer.
Substantive violations occur when someone on probation commits a new crime. Both felonies and misdemeanors may be counted as a substantive violation. These violations increase the risk of probation revocation.
Keep in Mind...
While the consequences for technical violations are often less serious than those for substantive violations, it's in your best interest to avoid any kind of probation violation. Any sort of violation can lead to probation revocation.
Probation Violations and Colorado's No-Bond Provision
A violation of your probation terms violates a court order and is considered a crime. If a violation is reported, the judge can issue an arrest warrant. In the state of Colorado, these warrants have a no-bond provision. In other words, offenders can't post bond and be released from jail until the judge has issued a bond amount.
That is why it is so critical for those charged with probation violations to contact an attorney immediately; a lawyer can request an immediate bond hearing and fight to get the bond amount reduced.
Probation Violation Penalties
Adding new terms and conditions to your probation
Extending the length of the oversight period
Reinstating all or part of the original sentence
Have You Been Accused of Violating Probation? Speak with a Probation Violation Lawyer
Whether you've been accused of a technical violation or a substantive violation, it's crucial that you contact The Dadvocates prior to your probation hearing. Our attorneys have helped many clients in the Denver Metro area and throughout Colorado. We are ready to listen to you, and will offer our honest legal insight when it comes to your best options moving forward. For more information about probation hearings and your legal options, contact our law firm online. You can also reach The Dadvocates by phone.
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A Probation Violation Could Lead to Imprisonment
The CSG Justice Center also reports that in Colorado in 2017, two-thirds of probation violations that resulted in prison were technical violations. Again, substantive violations may seem more serious, but technical violations can also lead to jail or prison.
Probation Violation Hearings
The Burden of Proof
Our attorneys emphasize that probation violation is a separate criminal offense from the one that resulted in sentence in the first place. Further, the burden of proof that was needed to obtain the initial criminal conviction was much stronger than the standard of proof that is required to revoke probation. It is up to the offender's lawyers to refute or provide a reasonable explanation for the violations.
When it comes to criminal probation proceedings, Colorado is divided into 22 judicial districts. A chief judge oversees the probation department in each district. The judge conducts the probation revocation hearing without a jury. The judge isn't required to follow the same stringent rules of evidence that are established for criminal trials. This is why it is critical to have an attorney that can provide strong evidence in your defense.
Preponderance of Evidence
Since there is no jury at the probation hearing, the judge is responsible for assessing the evidence presented by the prosecutor and your defense attorney. The prosecutor is attempting to prove that you willfully and substantially violated probation.
"Willful" means that you knowingly violated probation. "Substantial" in this context is not to be confused with substantive violations, per se. Substantial means that you violated the terms of your probation in a meaningful way.
Rather than proving a probation violation beyond a reasonable doubt, the prosecutor needs only provide a compelling case that convinces the judge that a probation violation occurred.
The Judge's Decision
Probation RevocationBased on the evidence presented, a judge may decide to revoke your probation. If your probation is revoked, you will return to prison and serve out the remainder of your sentence in custody.
Modifying the Terms of ProbationThe judge may decide to keep you on probation, but alter the terms to include additional restrictions or conditions. This may include additional fines or extending the length of your probation.
Maintaining the Terms of ProbationThe judge may find in your favor and deny the prosecutor's Motion to Revoke Probation (MRP). In these situations, you will remain on probation and continue to abide by the original terms.
Do You Need a Probation Violation Lawyer? Our Law Firm Is Here to Help
If you've been accused of violating probation, it's important to have a trusted criminal defense lawyer on your side for your hearing. The Dadvocates have helped men and fathers throughout the state of Colorado by offering truthful, unvarnished legal counsel. Whenever possible, we will help you avoid probation revocation and serving time in jail or prison.
To speak with criminal defense attorneys about your case, contact our law offices online. You can also get in touch with our lawyers by phone. Our Denver-based practice has attorneys across the state who can provide the advocacy you need.
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Appealing a Decision
While rare, it is possible to appeal a judge's decision after a probation hearing. It's important to point out that the grounds for appeal are usually quite narrow, and may involve procedural issues during the probation hearing. This is why it's important to have qualified legal representation if you've been accused of probation violation.
Why You Need a Probation Violation Lawyer
Refuting the Probation ViolationA lawyer is crucial for refuting a prosecutor's claims. A lawyer can frame your case in a compelling way that casts doubt on the prosecutor's case and the evidence presented.
Crafting the Right ResponseA probation violation lawyer may find it better to admit to a probation violation. However, the lawyer can explain the circumstances in a way that convinces the judge to be more lenient.
Knowing Procedures and State LawA probation attorney understands hearing protocols and state law. Your lawyer can identify procedural violations that could be grounds for an appeal as well as other crucial matters in the case.
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Contact Our Probation Violation Lawyers Get the Legal Help You Need
If you're facing an accusation of probation violation, our attorneys in Denver and throughout the state of Colorado can offer counsel and represent you at your probation hearing. We will do everything in our power to reduce penalties or have the charges dropped altogether.
To speak with our team of trusted criminal defense attorneys, contact our law firm online. You can also call The Dadvocates to set up a legal consultation.
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Probation Law FAQs Answers to Common Questions
Who qualifies for unsupervised probation?
Unsupervised probation is rare. A court will usually issue unsupervised probation if a person:
- Has no prior criminal convictions,
- Was convicted of a low-tier misdemeanor, and/or
- Has completed most or all terms of their supervised probation
Is there a statute of limitations on probation violations?There is no statute of limitations for violating probation. If you've violated probation and a warrant was issued by the court, it will not go away, even if many years have passed. Penalties will often get worse the longer a warrant remains open, which is why it's important to contact a lawyer and resolve these issues as soon as possible.
Will I go to jail for a first-time probation violation?This depends on a number of factors. If you've been accused of a technical violation, you may not serve any time but could face other penalties. If you committed a substantive violation or absconded after a warrant was issued for your arrest, jail time is more likely.
What can't you do on probation?This depends on your court-issued rules. While conditions vary, people on probation may be told to abstain from drug and alcohol use, avoid certain people or places, and remain within the state or jurisdiction unless allowed to leave by their probation officer.
How do I remove a probation violation warrant?The best way to address a probation violation warrant is to consult with a lawyer at our firm. The Dadvocates will work to resolve the warrant, and provide strong legal representation before the judge.
Can probation violations affect child custody and visitation?Yes, potentially. Colorado family courts consider the best interests of a child when it comes to parenting time arrangements. Your criminal record may be factored into a judge's decision, especially if there are multiple violations or if there is a warrant out for your arrest.
Can I move to a different state while on probation?Yes, you can move to a different state while on probation, but it must be done through the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision. After applying for interstate compact, it will be up to your probation officer and the receiving state (the state you wish to move to) to decide if you qualify for transfer. Failure to go through the proper channels could result in a probation violation.
Do You Have a Question About Probation We Didn't Answer?
If you need to speak with a probation lawyer about a topic we did not address on this page, we encourage you to contact The Dadvocates today.
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