What are Probation Violations?
In many criminal cases, defendants plead guilty to a crime but do not go to jail. Instead, the judge puts the defendant on probation. As an aside, lawyers call probation “community supervision.” This means the defendant can avoid jail time. However, the defendant must follow certain conditions and rules. If he does not, then the judge can issue an arrest warrant for the defendant. In short, a probation violation happens when a defendant does not follow the rules or conditions of probation.
What is a Motion to Revoke Probation (MTR)?
If a defendant violates a rule or condition of probation, then the State will file a motion asking the judge to revoke the defendant’s probation. In other words, the State is asking the judge to end the probation and send the defendant to jail. Further, the MTR will list the violation(s) the defendant committed.
The most common probation violations are:
- Failing to report with the probation officer;
- Testing dirty for drugs;
- Failing to complete community service hours; or
- Picking up a new case.
If the judge finds that the violations are true, then the judge has several options. The most common options are as follows. First, the judge can end the probation and send the defendant to jail. Second, the judge can continue the defendant on probation. Or third, the judge can keep the defendant on probation, but change the terms of probation.
What are my rights at a probation violation (MTR) hearing?
The MTR hearing guarantees a defendant the following rights:
- The State must provide the defendant written notice of the violations. The notice is provided in the MTR;
- Prosecutors must show the defendant the evidence for the violations;
- The defendant has a right to be heard in person. He also has the right to present witnesses and evidence in his defense. And, he has the right to confront and cross-examine the witnesses against him;
- The judge must be neutral and fair during the hearing; and
- Finally, the judge must provide a written statement explaining why it revoked the probation.
San Antonio Probation Violation Attorney
A defense lawyer can help clients facing an MTR. He (or she) may workout a deal with the prosecutor and the probation department to withdraw the MTR. This allows the defendant to stay on probation and avoid jail time. Further, if the defense and state cannot reach a deal, then the attorney can ask the judge not to revoke the probation. In this situation, the judge will decide if the defendant stays on probation or goes to jail. Finally, if the defendant did not violate the terms of probation, his or her attorney can help present a defense to the violations.
To summarize, a defendant facing an MTR has options. These options include working with the State to stay on probation. Or, the defendant can say the allegations are “Not True” and request a hearing to challenge the allegations. A probation violation attorney can help in either situation.