A Colorado probation violation is a serious matter that impacts your freedom and future. According to a study by the Pew Trust, one-third of people on probation fail to successfully complete their probation. If you are charged with a probation violation you may be unsure what options you have or what the possible consequences may be. A skilled attorney can help you evaluate your path forward and bring your case to a resolution.
What is Probation?
Probation is a supervisory program that allows a person to remain free after pleading guilty to or being found guilty of a crime. A person can be placed immediately on probation after their court proceeding or serve probation after being released from jail. The Colorado Probation Department or the court supervises the person once they are placed on probation.
Each probation sentence includes terms and conditions that are set by the court and with which the individual is responsible for complying.
These can include:
- Avoiding criminal activity
- Completion of community service
- Complying with a protective order
- Electronic monitoring
- Not owning or possessing a firearm
- Not using drugs or alcohol
- Participating in counseling
- Payment of fees associated with the supervision
- Payment of restitution to a victim
- Random drug testing
- Regularly reporting to a probation officer
- Remaining within the state
- Searches by law enforcement
- Supporting their dependents
- Working at an appropriate job or going to school
The terms and conditions are required elements of probation.
What is a Probation Violation?
A probation violation occurs if you fail to comply with any of the terms and conditions of your probation.
This could include:
- Violating the laws of any state or country besides minor traffic infractions
- Failing to make required payments
- Leaving the state
- Missing a urine analysis test
- Missing an appointment with your probation officer
- Not completing community service hours on time
- Skipping a counseling session or class
- Violating a protective order
- Using recreational marijuana
What Happens if Probation Is Violated?
If you violate the terms of your probation, the Probation Department can:
- Issue a summons for you to return to court
- Issue an arrest warrant for you
The prosecutor can then file a motion to revoke probation (MRP). A hearing is then held before a judge to determine if you did in fact violate the terms and conditions of your parole. The prosecutor presents evidence and the accused has the opportunity to present their own evidence. The violation must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning, “more likely than not.” If the violation alleged is a new law violation, the violation must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. It is then up to the judge to determine what the appropriate sentence for the violation of probation is.
Outcome of Probation Violation Hearing
If the court determines you did not violate your probation, you are free to go and will continue to comply with your probation as previously ordered. A finding that you did not violate probation does not end the probation. It continues until the originally scheduled completion date.
If the court finds you did violate probation the possible outcomes are:
- Probation is revoked and you then must serve a sentence in jail or prison
- Probation is revoked and reinstated/regranted with or without sanctions
- Probation is extended and/or additional terms and conditions are added
Communication with your probation officer is key. Keeping them completely up to date with everything you do, even with mistakes you make, establishes trust and provides them with the opportunity to be lenient.
Why You Need an Attorney for Probation Violations
If you have violated your probation or have been accused of a probation violation, it is important to retain an experienced criminal law attorney to represent you at your revocation of probation hearing. A skilled attorney can mitigate the consequences of the alleged violation.
Your attorney can schedule the revocation hearing date in the future, allowing you the opportunity to become compliant before the hearing so that the DA drops the alleged violations. Your attorney can also negotiate with the DA so that you can avoid a hearing and reach an agreed-upon outcome for the violation. If you do go to a hearing, your attorney can present evidence that may result in a finding that you didn’t violate probation.
The attorneys at Burnham Law are experienced in handling probation violation cases and are ready to help you with your case. Contact us today to the help you need by calling 303-990-5308.