Have you been accused of violating the terms of your probation in Phoenix, AZ? The consequences can be quite serious. You’ll want a qualified Phoenix probation violation attorney on your side as you fight the charges. Contact Orent Law Offices for immediate legal assistance. Our Phoenix criminal defense attorneys have decades of experience and a track record of securing positive results for our clients. We offer a free consultation, so give our law offices a call today to learn more.
In the state of Arizona, being convicted of a crime can lead to fines, jail time, or a prison sentence. However, probation may be an alternative to incarceration for individuals that are deemed eligible.
There are specific restrictions and rules that you must follow when serving out your probation term. You will also need to regularly report to an individual known as a probation officer. Breaking any of the probation terms or failing to report to your probation officer could result in you being penalized.
Note that there are different types of probation that you can be ordered to serve in Arizona. Further, the length of a probation term can also vary. In fact, some individuals may be ordered to lifetime probation.
Now, the most common type of probation is supervised probation. Here, a probation officer is in charge of your supervision and then reports your progress and actions to the appropriate court. The officer would also work with you to set and achieve goals related to your rehabilitation.
Keep in mind that unsupervised probation may also be an option. This generally applies to those that are of lower risk to society or have only minor felony or misdemeanor convictions. For unsupervised probation, you would meet with a probation officer once at the time of sentencing. Further, instead of in-person visits, your compliance would be monitored via telephone, email, and U.S. mail.
The court sets the terms that you are required to follow while you are on probation. The most basic term would be a prohibition against committing any further criminal behavior. Other common terms include requiring that you:
Bear in mind that if you are convicted of certain types of crimes, you could have additional terms imposed. For example, sex offenders may have curfew hours, limits on computer use, and be banned from having any contact with minors.
Note that probation can be violated in a number of ways. How the violation is handled will depend on the terms of the probation and your actions. Generally speaking, the more serious the violation, the more severely it will be punished.
Perhaps the most substantial probation violation is the commission of a new crime. In Arizona, this could be considered a non-bondable offense. This means you could be held in jail with no option for bail until the probation violation is finalized.
Other common violations we see include:
There may also be violations based on issues with drug testing. This would include missing a test, testing positive, or tampering with a test.
Now, the consequences of a probation violation may depend in part on the discretion of your probation officer. Keep in mind that if you are charged with a new crime, you will face additional penalties based on this crime as well as the punishment for the probation violation.
Sometimes a violation is minor and results in only a warning from the probation officer. This is often the case for a minor first offense. But, note that the court has the authority to issue a warrant for your arrest based on the violation.
One way that probation violations are punished is to extend the length of your probation term. Another option would be to modify the existing conditions to make it more restrictive on you. For example, if you repeatedly failed to report to your probation officer, you may be placed under house arrest or under closer surveillance by the officer. This might include more frequent or random visits to your home.
Further, in some cases, you may be penalized by having your probation revoked. This would result in prison or jail time, typically for the length of time of the probation term.
Note that the state may decide it necessary to report your violation to the victim(s) of your crime. These individuals also have the right to be present and speak at any hearings related to the modification or revocation of your probation.
Now, a specific procedure must be followed for all revocations or modifications of probation in Arizona. This requires the probation officer to first file a document known as a petition with the appropriate court.
The court will then schedule a hearing known as a Probation Arraignment. At the hearing, you will be given an opportunity to admit or deny the allegations made by the probation officer. If you deny the violation, the court will schedule another hearing.
It’s important to note that the standard of proof for probation violations is lower than with criminal charges. In order to be convicted of a crime, the prosecutor must show that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that there is no other logical explanation for the facts other than you committed the crime.
However, for probation violations, the standard of proof is met by merely a “preponderance of the evidence.” This means that the state needs only show that you more likely than not committed the violation in question. This is a key distinction and makes it very important that you put forth a strong case. For that reason, it’s critical to have a Phoenix criminal defense lawyer involved in your case.
If the state loses its case against you regarding the violation, your original probation terms will remain in effect. But, if they are successful, the court will then decide on the appropriate penalty.
As mentioned, the penalty may result in you having your probation term extended or its conditions modified. You may also be sent to prison. Keep in mind that a judge has broad discretion in deciding these matters. Because of these serious nature of these proceedings, it’s important to have a Phoenix probation violation attorney involved who understands the charges and can put together a strong defense.
In most cases, your probation officer will inform you of the violation and that your case has been referred to the court. You may also be delivered or “served” the petition filed in support of the alleged violation. This paperwork will indicate whether the state seeks to revoke or change your probation and when you are ordered to appear in court. It is important that you attend this hearing.
Note that you may also be arrested. However, the police must first obtain a warrant before taking you into custody. Keep in mind that if you have been charged with a new crime, you can be sure that a probation violation petition will be filed. These types of cases can get complicated, so it’s important to speak with a criminal law attorney.
If you believe you will face a probation violation charge, reach out to an attorney right away. You can contact a criminal defense lawyer in Phoenix at any time. We’ll advise you on how best to proceed in light of these charges.
As you can see, violating the terms of your probation can lead to serious penalties. For that reason, you want to make sure that you have a qualified attorney on your side, no matter where you are in the process.
Remember, being arrested does not mean that you will be convicted of the crime or that you will face penalties for violating your probation. You have the right to a hearing and to have an attorney represent you in court.
Our firm has extensive experience with probation violations and will aggressively defend your case. There’s no reason to go it alone. Contact our Phoenix, AZ law firm today for a free consultation.