Probation can be crucial to getting your freedom back following a conviction. While it is typically better to get your charges dismissed or reduced with the help of a criminal defense lawyer, probation can provide you freedom so you can keep your life on track.
Unfortunately, even a first-time probation violation can have serious negative consequences.
Knowing what to expect if you are facing a first probation violation is the first part of protecting your probation agreement, and the attorneys at Weber Law are here to help. Read on or reach out to get the guidance you need when you are accused of violating probation.
What Is Probation?
When you are charged and convicted of a crime, you may be offered a deal that includes a probation sentence. Probation is a way of serving your sentence, but rather than facing jail or prison time, you can go home instead.
Rather than staying in prison, you will be asked to follow a set of rules during your probation period. They may include staying a certain distance from bars, community services, and other restrictions. It may also include weekly meetings with your probation officer, who is there to ensure you are following your probation agreement.
This agreement gives you the freedom you would otherwise not be afforded. While these restrictions can be difficult, especially if they prevent you from doing things you commonly did before your conviction, probation can give you and your family a second chance at freedom.
Probation vs. Parole
Many people mistake probation for parole; in some ways, they can seem similar at first. Both allow freedom for the convicted person, meaning they can get their life back on track. Probation typically refers to those who serve their complete sentence outside of jail.
Parole is an early-release program that allows those who have served time and maintained good behavior to be released before completing their sentence. Unlike those granted probation, parole does not prevent a person from serving part or most of their sentence within a correctional facility.
Types of Probation Violations
When a probation violation happens, it is essential to understand why and how you are accused of violating your probation. When building a defense, your attorney needs to know the details and circumstances of the violation.
With this information, your lawyer can help you defend your case and potentially prevent the loss of your probation rights. That can stop you from being sent to jail or prison, losing your job, and losing regular contact with your family.
When you sign a probation agreement, you agree to follow the rules of your probation. These may include paying fines, avoiding certain areas or businesses, or attending drug or alcohol classes. Failure to follow these rules may count as a first probation violation.
Often, these are violations reported by your probation officer. If you missed a meeting, failed to appear in court, or otherwise broke a rule that your probation officer knew about, you may face additional penalties and a hearing about your case.
New Law Violations
In some cases, you may have stuck closely to the rules of your probation. Unfortunately, you were accused of breaking a different law during your probation. For example, you may have been on probation after a drinking and driving conviction when arrested for assault.
In these cases, you may be dealing with two cases: the current charges against you and your probation violation. Balancing these two sets of charges can be difficult and can leave you unable to keep your probation agreement if you do not seek help. Talk to your criminal defense lawyer about settling all your legal disputes.
Penalties for First Probation Violation
When you have committed a criminal offense or violated your probation agreement for the first time, you may be lucky to receive nothing more than a warning. A warning should be taken seriously, but you may not lose the rights and privileges you enjoy. However, that does not mean you cannot suffer more dire penalties if convicted of a probation violation.
You may sometimes be sentenced to a more extended probation period, or your probation officer may revoke probation. While you may not lose your probation privileges, you may face a longer time under the restricting rules that come with probation. That means it will take longer to put your criminal conviction behind you.
One of the most severe penalties after your probation violation hearing is the loss of your probation rights. Without this agreement, you will be expected to carry out your sentence in prison, limiting your freedom and ability to pay off the debts that may accrue following a conviction.
Because of this, you may need to seek out a criminal defense attorney when accused of breaking your probation agreement. Your lawyer can represent you before the judge and defend your future against accusations of law-breaking. All you have to do is contact our attorneys to learn more about your options.
Going to Court for Colorado Probation Violations
When your probation officer determines that you have broken your probation agreement, the first step they will take is filing a motion to revoke your probation agreement with your local Colorado court. If that happens, you may lose your probation rights, so seek legal guidance immediately.
Once the officer files the motion, the judge will review your case. They will look for evidence of probable cause that you violated your probation agreement. The motion may be dismissed if the judge finds no evidence of a violation. The judge can issue a bench warrant for your arrest if you are in violation.
That means you may be arrested at any time and any place. This can lead to embarrassing situations, so it is often best to speak with your lawyer about arriving at your court hearing of your own volition. That can help protect your comfort and dignity.
Once the hearing proceeds, the prosecution must prove you broke the rules of your probation with a preponderance of evidence or that you more likely than not violated probation. If the prosecution is successful, the judge will determine what punishment is suitable for your case, which can depend on the details of the violation.
Fortunately, you do not have to handle your probation revocation hearing alone or plead guilty. You have a right to legal counsel, meaning your lawyer can represent you during the hearing and ensure you get the help you need throughout your case. Your lawyer can fight the district attorney to ensure you get the accusations dismissed or reduced so you can hold on to your future.
How a Lawyer Can Help You Fight Back Against a Colorado Probation Violation
When you face accusations of breaking your probation agreement, getting your life back on track without help can be challenging. You may not have the necessary tools, resources, and experience to handle your case and get the answers you need.
So how can a criminal defense attorney help you get the answers you need following accusations of a probation violation? Here is what years of experience in the legal field can do for you when you are accused of breaking the law and your future is at risk.
Evidence and Defenses for Your Colorado Criminal Law Case
When facing accusations of breaking your probation agreement after the district attorney filed a motion to revoke probation, you first need to find the grounds to build your case. The right defense can impact the results of your hearing. For example, if there is specific evidence that you were at a crime scene, an alibi may not be possible, but you may have grounds for an affirmative defense.
For example, you may have been accused of violating your parole after getting in a fight and being charged with assault. You may be unable to prove you were not involved in a fight. However, with an affirmative defense, you may have grounds to say that you acted in self-defense and did not mean to cause harm or break the law.
Your lawyer can help you determine the best path forward. If you need clarification, reach out for guidance after a probation violation. Your lawyer has all the tools and resources you need to fight back against a potential violation conviction.
Appealing a Court Decision
In some cases, you may have already faced a conviction for a probation violation. That can be devastating, but it does not mean you are out of options. Your lawyer has tools you can use to change that decision.
You can appeal that decision with a criminal defense attorney on your side. You may be able to overturn that decision with more evidence in your favor, but this can be difficult to do without a lawyer’s help. Reach out for the guidance and legal help you need.
Probation Violation FAQ
When you are accused of violating your probation, you need answers and an appropriate defense for your case. Unfortunately, you may not yet have the tools for your case. Your lawyer can be a key source of information during this time.
When you are ready to seek out case-specific information for recovery, contact a criminal defense lawyer to learn more about your case and our services. While you wait to speak with a lawyer, check out the general information below that may be useful for your hearing.
What happens if you violate probation in Colorado?
If you are in violation of your probation agreement, you may lose your freedom. You may be sent to jail or prison, and your probation agreement may be revoked. That means you must serve the rest of your sentence behind bars.
Because of this, even a first alleged violation is dire. You might also need to pay court-ordered compensation, probation fees, complete drug and alcohol classes, and face additional jail time. Speak with your attorney to learn more about protecting yourself now, not later.
How much time do you get for violating probation in Colorado?
You may receive additional penalties in Colorado depending on how you are accused of violating your probation. You may be assigned more community service, for example. You may also have your probation revoked and reinstated with stricter terms, depending on the severity of the alleged violation. You may even face up to 60 days in jail for a misdemeanor and 90 days for a felony.
These penalties can impact your life and your family. Because of technical probation violations, you may need a lawyer to help you defend your case and protect your probation agreement.
Is there a statute of limitations on probation violations in Colorado?
When serving your probation sentence, there are no time limits to reporting and penalizing a probation violation. Whether the offense was a week or a year ago, your probation officer can report you to the courts to face a violation hearing that can impact your future. No matter how long ago your criminal proceeding was, you may need a lawyer to help.
How can I fight back against probation violation charges?
Depending on the details of the violation, you may have grounds for a defense. That is especially true for a first probation violation. You and your Colorado defense attorney can review the accusations you are facing and determine whether there is evidence against them, such as an alibi. Talk to a lawyer about your potential defenses and how you can protect your future.
How can a criminal defense attorney help me?
When you are accused of a crime, getting help now is vital. A criminal defense attorney offers experience, resources, and legal help you may not have access to without a lawyer. Your attorney can also represent you during the hearing and improve your chances of keeping your probation agreement, even when your case seems dire.
What is prima facie evidence?
Prima facie evidence may be used against you to show you were breaking the law in some way. This term refers to self-evidence or obvious evidence in a court case. If the information does constitute prima facie evidence, you may be expected to defend yourself against claims that you broke your agreement.
Remember that prima facie evidence does not mean you are without an argument or grounds to defend your case. This evidence simply means they have enough evidence to proceed with the case. Your lawyer can still gather evidence and defend you from the claims of rules violations you are currently facing.
Contact a Probation Violation Lawyer Today
Probation can offer you the freedom you would not have in prison, allowing you to keep a job and remain close to your family. Unfortunately, you may also face accusations that you broke your probation agreement. Even a first offense can hurt your future, and it can be devastating for you and your family if you are sent to jail or prison to serve the rest of your sentence.
At Weber Law, we understand that probation gives you the freedom to avoid prison, allowing you to see your family, keep your job, and work toward a life without the strain of a prison sentence. We also understand defending your case against probation violation accusations can be tough.
If you are facing a first probation violation in Colorado and need to know what happens next, reach out to us for help. We can be reached by calling or completing our online contact form on this site.