Probation Violation Attorney Southeast MI
When faced with an allegation of probation violation, you should retain a trusted lawyer to help you, such as attorney Daniel Hilf. A Probation violation (also referred to as a VOP or a violation of probation), if established, places you at the mercy of the Judge who is allowed to re-sentence you on your original conviction charge. Some Judges may be willing to give you a second chance and other Judges have no sympathy and feel that you already received a break by being put on probation in the first place. The work your lawyer performs may be the difference between going home and going into custody.
The options that the Judge has when it comes to a probation violation include any of the following:
- a dismissal of the violation or violations;
- a warning;
- added or modified probationary conditions (community service, counseling, increased drug/alcohol testing, financial penalties, etc.);
- additional time on probation;
- loss of a special status previously awarded that kept the conviction off your record (HYTA; 7411; 769.4a; 771.1; etc.) With the loss of that status, in some cases there are driver's license sanctions imposed;
- Incarceration up to the maximum possible sentence allowable by law.
Whenever charged with probation violation or probation violations, you have a choice how to handle it. One option is to admit to the violation or violations, and offer the Judge any explanation that you have. Another option is to have a contested hearing in front of your Judge. To exercise either of these options it is recommended that you retain attorney Daniel Hilf of Hilf & Hilf, PLC to defend you. Attorney Hilf will provide you with sound advice and help you implement a well thought out strategy to face the probation violation in the best possible way.
For a violation of probation hearing you have the following rights:
- The right to a contested hearing in front of your Judge (there is no right to a jury trial);
- The limited applicability of the rules of evidence (hearsay testimony is allowed, which can be either to your advantage or detriment depending upon the circumstances);
- Right to be advised of the maximum possible penalty that the Judge can impose;
- If in custody you have a right to a probation violation hearing within 14 days after the arraignment or the court must release you from custody. If the probation violation is based on new criminal activity, the Judge can postpone the hearing to await to outcome of of the new case;
- Right to be advised in writing of the alleged probation violations;
- Presumption of innocence;
- Right to be represented by a lawyer;
- Prosecution has the burden of proof. Prosecution has to prove by a "preponderance of the evidence" that at least 1 accusation of probation violation is true. "Preponderance of the evidence means" to show that the violation is more likely than not to be true. The prosecution only has to prove any 1 violation, and not all the violations that you are facing;
- The right to be present in the courtroom for the probation violation hearing;
- The right to assist your lawyer in the defense of your probation violation;
- The right to cross examine any witness called by the prosecution;
- The right to subpoena witnesses;
- The right to have your witnesses testify in Court;
- The right to testify in your own defense of the probation violation(s). If you testify the prosecution and the Judge have the right to ask you questions under oath;
- The right to remain silent, and to have your silence not used or inferred against you in any manner;
- The right to appeal.
These rights only mean something if you have an experienced lawyer help you exercise these rights. To effectively fight a probation violation you should never choose to self represent. In order to prepare and present an effective and compelling defense to a probation violation you need a lawyer who is experienced with probation violation proceedings, such as attorney Daniel Hilf.
With every probation violation there is an arraignment, where the Judge has the option of setting a personal, cash, or surety bond. Defense counsel may request that the probation violation hearing is delayed for a number of reasons including: need to subpoena witnesses; need for additional preparation; desire to consult with an expert witness; scheduling issues; waiting the outcome of a pending criminal matter. The court has the ability to grant or deny the adjournment request. If the new criminal cases that formed the basis of the probation violation is dismissed, the prosecution still has the option to go forward with the alleged violation. The reason for this is based upon the fact that the burden of proof for a probation violation (preponderance of the evidence) is much less than the burden of proof for a new criminal allegation (beyond a reasonable doubt). Also, often the probation officer files the violation based on the alleged conduct and not necessarily the conviction. For example, if a person's new criminal offense was for a DUI which got dismissed, the violation may be based upon the person's alleged consumption of alcohol (if the person was ordered to not consume alcohol while on probation).
If the probation violation is based only upon failure to pay, the court cannot incarcerate the person or revoke probation unless the court finds that the Defendant has not made a good faith effort to pay, and that the Defendant had the ability to comply without suffering a "manifest hardship". When considering the existence of a manifest hardship the Judge is supposed to consider: if the Defendant is employed; employment history; if the Defendant is employable; what the Defendant is able to earn; whether or not the failure to pay was willful; what financial resources the Defendant has; what are the Defendant's basic living expenses (shelter, food, clothing, child support, medical expenses, etc.); the existence of any other relevant special circumstances. A lawyer, if experienced, will help you address these factors with the Judge, if applicable to your alleged probation violation.
At hearing, some charges may require the assistance of an expert witness. An expert witness is basically someone who has special knowledge in a particular area that may assist the Judge. For example, if the issue is whether a person falsely tested positive to alcohol because they inhaled alcohol fumes at a work site, an expert witness may be able to convince the Court that the explanation offered is true and the positive test result was not due to voluntary consumption of alcohol. When it comes to presenting expert testimony at a probation violation hearing, you need a zealous and well prepared lawyer to represent you and explain your situation to the Judge.
At sentencing (if a plea or conviction occurs after a VOP hearing) the Defendant, defense counsel, prosecution, probation officer, and the victim of the underlying case all are allowed to provide statements to the Judge. Your lawyer, if experienced, can give you great advice how to possibly avoid or reduce any sentence by providing you with a comprehensive VOP sentencing strategy.Why Choose Attorney Daniel Hilf For Probation Violation Representation in Southeast, Michigan?
- Years of legal experience handling probation violation allegations;
- A professional and well staffed office environment in Troy Michigan;
- Immediate steps taken to address your violation of probation;
- Return of telephone calls and messages;
- Will provide sound advice and recommendations as to the best way to defend the violation of probation accusations;
- If convicted of probation violation, will provide advice and recommendations to try and mitigate the possible sentence, and will address the sentence with the Court in a prepared, zealous manner;
- Well prepared advocacy that is results oriented;
- Highly respected by Judges and prosecutors;
- Compassionate, caring legal representation.
There are many lawyers who claim to handle probation violations, but in reality do not know what they are doing. Defending probation violations is a skill that develops over time with experience, legal acumen, preparation, and talent. Remember, hiring the right probation violation lawyer may be one of the most important decisions you make for yourself, your family, and your future.
Criminal defense attorney Daniel Hilf provides legal assistance for the following types of criminal matters:
- Probation Violation
- Retail Fraud
- Drug Offenses
- Criminal Traffic
- Other Criminal Offenses
- Sex Offenses
- Domestic Violence
If you have been charged with a probation violation or a crime, contact us immediately to begin working on your case.