Probation Violations Attorney, Charlotte, NC
If You Are Facing An Immediate Return To Prison, You Need A Probation Violation Lawyer
At sentencing, it’s common for a defendant to hear that he or she will be subject to probation. Probation may follow time spent in prison or it can be ordered instead of going to prison, depending upon the charges for which the defendant was convicted. Generally, people are relieved to learn that they’ll be on probation, especially if this means that they will only have to spend a short time confined or avoid it completely.
Probation is Intended to Encourage Rehabilitation
Keeping someone in prison is very expensive and does not offer many opportunities for rehabilitation. Probation is intended to help to rehabilitate someone after they have received an appropriate punishment for their crime. The court imposes certain conditions that must be adhered to while on probation, hoping that complying with these conditions will assist someone in becoming a productive member of society and staying out of trouble. Unfortunately, every probation violation attorney in Charlotte, NC has had numerous clients who were accused of violating the terms of their probation.
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The Probation Process
After someone is granted probation, a probation officer is assigned to the case and meets with the probationer to review the court order. A risk assessment is performed to help define the probation goals and conditions. When someone remains compliant with the terms and conditions established for their probation, they can go to work, continue their life with their family and generally enjoy their freedom.
These conditions could include:
- Periodically reporting to a probation officer
- Finding a job
- Drug and/or alcohol testing
- Avoiding contact with certain people
- Attending a drug/alcohol treatment program
There are legal limits to the conditions that can be required while someone is on probation. For example, someone cannot be required to get married or attend church or Alcoholics Anonymous, since AA is based upon the belief in a higher power or God. One of the jobs of a probation violation lawyer in Charlotte is to ensure that there are no illegal probation requirements.
Changes to the Probation Laws in North Carolina
In 2011, North Carolina took a hard look at the costs of keeping people in prison. The corrections budget for adults had escalated to over $1.3 billion dollars for more than 41,000 prison inmates. Crime was declining, but the number of prison inmates was expected to keep increasing.
While investigating possible solutions, officials unearthed a startling fact. More than half of the people admitted to prison were sent there because their probation had been revoked. Much of the time, these offenders hadn’t committed another new, serious crime. Instead, they had been sent to occupy an expensive prison bed because of technical violations: missing appointments with their probation officer, failing drug tests or failing to attend a required drug treatment program. State officials realized that this wasn’t doing any good for either the North Carolina taxpayers or the offenders.
A law was passed that mandated a new direction for North Carolina’s probation system.
- Some probation violators are sentenced to “quick dips” or brief two or three day jail terms rather than revoking probation entirely. This was intended to serve as a wake-up call that further probation violations would result in a return to prison. This resulted in a decline in the number of revoked probations.
- Sentencing other probation violators who had committed more serious crimes to 90-day jail stays without formally revoking their probation.
- Increasing supervision on those offenders judged most likely to get into trouble.
- Decreasing supervision on those considered least in need of it.
- Ensuring that all of those re-entering society after serving time in prison received some services and oversight.
What Are the Options When Probation is Violated?
Violating probation triggers a court hearing to determine what consequences the probationer will now face. The probationer should immediately contact a probation violation lawyer.
Some of the possible outcomes of a probation violation include:
- Extending the original period of probation so that the probationer will be supervised for a longer period
- Modifying the original probation agreement – this can be very important if it was impossible for the probationer to comply with one of the original terms, such as repaying court costs, because of a lost job
- Reinstating probation under the original terms
- Terminating probation
- Revoking probation, which sends the probationer to prison
Delegated Authority Could Send You Back to Jail
There’s a belief that “delegated authority” implies a one-way ticket back to jail. Probation officers have the powers of delegated authority, permitting them to impose some requirements upon probationers without going back to court. A probation officer could send a probationer to jail for up to three days at a time. The probation officer can also send a probationer back to court for a 90 day CRV (Confinement in Response to Violation). Every probation violation attorney in Charlotte, NC has seen this happen numerous times.
Many Acts Could be Considered Probation Violations
There are many ways in which someone could violate probation. Some conditions are almost automatically included, while others would be unique to the case.
Probation violations could include:
- Committing another crime
- Absconding, or leaving the area
- Failing to pay child support
- Missing scheduled meetings with a probation officer
- Failing a drug or alcohol test
- Being with people that were forbidden by the terms of the probation agreement
- Visiting prohibited places
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Violating probation should never be taken lightly. Even though North Carolina changed some of the probation laws, that does not mean that judges will go easy on a violator. The old saying that the only acceptable reasons for breaking probation were death or being in a coma isn’t true, but judges do not like frivolous excuses. They are not thinking about saving the taxpayer’s money when someone is standing before them, but about the legal penalties that could be imposed.
Probation laws are very complicated and technical. Even if it seems like do not have a defense, a meticulous probation violation attorney can go through each of the details to ensure that the probation officer and/or district attorney has taken the proper steps. If they have not, the violation could be thrown out completely. A Charlotte criminal defense attorney understands these laws and is committed to protecting the legal rights of their client. It would be foolish to face the judge without being represented by an attorney for probation violations. To schedule your free in-office confidential consultation, please contact our office at (704) 247-7110. If necessary, we also offer consultations at the jail for a small fee.