If you are fortunate and have an experienced criminal defense lawyer, one of their goals is to get you probation instead of a long and serious prison sentence. If you receive probation, you are being granted a chance to stay out of jail or prison. This probationary sentence will be dependent on whether you adhere to all the conditions of your probationary court order.
If you accept the terms of your probation, you’re entering a contract with the court stating that you can manage yourself without having to “do time” in jail or prison. However, the consequences of violating your probation can be profoundly serious. This is especially true in Boston and all of Massachusetts.
Violations of your probation can occur if your parole officer (or the court) believes you have willfully and violated the terms of your probation in any material way. If there exists even a suspicion you violated your probation, a law enforcement officer may arrest you on the spot, or the court can issue a warrant for your arrest.
The Boston courts do not take probation violations lightly at all, and If you don’t follow your probation conditions to the letter, your probation officer is required by the court to take immediate action.
The actions your parole officer may take could include:
- Requesting a warrant for your immediate arrest.
- The judge may require you to return to court and consequently add more, and stricter, conditions to your probation.
- Have any compliance credits, you’ve earned, voided or taken away.
- Having your probation immediately revoked. If your probation is revoked, then the judge may sentence you to a house of correction, such as a county, state, or federal prison.
Your designated probation officer has been assigned to try to help you follow the conditions of your probation and stay out of jail. They’re regularly available to help you with any problems you may have and can refer you to the proper community resources for help with dealing with these issues. However, a probation officer is also responsible to the court and is there to protect the community at large.
Your probation officer can’t excuse you from any of your conditions such as reporting to them, making court payments and mandated fines, completing community service, drug testing, etc. The Boston courts are the only entity with the power to do these things.
Having the professional help of a knowledgeable, experienced Boston probation violation lawyer will be invaluable to you if you are accused of a probation violation. You may have a sincerely valid reason for the violation, and your lawyer will fight for your rights, and to keep you out of jail.
What May Happen If I Fail to Pay Court Mandated Fees or Restitution?
If you don’t pay your court-mandated fees or restitution, this could be considered a violation of your probation conditions, and the Boston court may find you in violation. Even in this minor case, the Boston court may sentence you to a house of correction and jail time.
This is another area, in which your Boston criminal defense lawyer can help you immensely. If you have a valid reason that you can’t pay your fees, your lawyer could have them converted to community service hours. By doing so, you could be allowed to perform community service instead of paying the fees. It’s important to note, however, that restitution can’t be converted and must be paid. If you’re unable to pay restitution, talk to your lawyer, and your probation officer and you may work together to figure out a new, and more workable plan.
What Could Be My Jail Time If I’ve Committed a Felony Probation Violation?
If you are found to violate felony probation, it’s a more serious matter. In this case, the court can sentence you to the amount of jail or prison time that was suspended at sentencing. If no custody time was suspended, then the court has the discretion to sentence you with the maximum jail term for the crime of which you were convicted.
Commonly, the jail time for a felony probation violation is either:
The amount of jail time that was suspended before your probation was ordered.
Or, if no suspension, the maximum jail time for the offense you were initially convicted of.
- Your criminal defense lawyer will be aware that usually, your judge does not automatically place a party in jail if you’ve committed a felony probation violation. Two other options exist but
- are highly dependent on the facts involved in your probation violation case.
In some cases, the judge can:
- Warn you, and then reinstate your original probation.
- Or modify the terms of your probation to solve the issue.
Presenting your case in detail, professionally and with proper legal representation can go a long way in mitigating the penalties for felony probation violation. You’re not alone when these problems arise, and your criminal defense lawyer will always fight for your rights.
What May Occur If I Am Suspected of A Probation Violation?
If your probation officer hears the evidence, or even suspects that you have violated the terms or conditions of your probation, then they will usually submit a “Notice of Surrender” to the Boston court. You are served the “Notice of Surrender” and a violation of probation hearing is usually scheduled.
It’s vital to note, that at this hearing:
o The ruling judge may add more terms, conditions, or fees to your probation.
o Any compliance credits you earned may be taken away.o Your probation could be completely revoked, and you could immediately be sent to jail or prison.
Boston judges are aware, however, that in most cases, probation works in Massachusetts. Massachusetts has been found to have one of the lowest incarceration rates for probationers due to probation violations in all fifty states. Approximately only one percent of Massachusetts inmates are in prison for violating probation.
Keeping that fact in mind, just being accused of violation of probation does not make it so. Your Boston criminal defense lawyer, experienced in violation hearings, will sift through all the facts and work to convince the court that you did not violate the conditions of your parole.
I Have Been Accused of Violating My Probation; How Should I Proceed?
As you see, if you are found guilty of violating your probation, you could face grave consequences, and you need to consult with and get the help of a qualified, experienced, and professional criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can. The Boston-based Toland Law Firm, LLC offers you skilled, attentive, and experienced legal guidance for your probation violation case. Consult with them first and don’t leave your future, or freedom, up to chance.