Probation Violation Attorney Sterling Heights MI
When faced with a probation violation, you should take the time to hire an attorney with the experience and legal acumen to really help you, such as attorney Daniel Hilf. A conviction for a probation violation (also known as a violation of probation or VOP), allows your Judge to sentence you again on your original charge and consider harsher sanctions. There are some Judges that breaks depending upon the seriousness of the alleged probation violation; there are other Judges that presume that incarceration is the way they get their message across to you and others to never violate probation. A persuasive and respected VOP lawyer may prove to be the difference between going home and going into custody. If your case is from Sterling Heights Michigan, and you are on probation with a Judge from the 41A District Court in Sterling Heights or Macomb County Circuit Court, these Judges are not always predictable in their approaches to violations of probation.
When it comes to a violation of probation conviction, the Judge will make a choice between different options, including:
- adding more probationary conditions (counseling, increased drug/alcohol testing, community service, fines/costs, etc.), or make the probation conditions that you have more difficult (more hours of community service, more frequent drug testing, etc.);
- put you on a longer period of monitoring on probation;
- loss of HYTA, 769.4a, 7411, or another legal status that sometimes is awarded to keep a conviction off your record;
- a warning from the Judge to never come back again on another probation violation;
- locking you up in jail or prison;
- any or all of the above options can be combined by the Judge.
Your second decision (after obtaining a lawyer) is determining how you want to take care of the probation violation charge. Basically you have two choices: have a hearing or plea guilty. Either way you proceed, if you hired the right VOP lawyer you will receive excellent advice and strategy concerning the best way to address and/or defend the allegation.
If you decide upon having a VOP hearing, you have several important due process rights:
- to choose and be represented by your own VOP lawyer (if you have the ability to hire him or her);
- if incarcerated you have a right to make the Court conduct a violation of probation hearing within 14 days after your arraignment on the probation violation. Otherwise the Judge is supposed to allow you to be released from custody;
- the right to be advised in writing of as to what the violations are against you, so you can adequately prepare a defense. The Judge also has to tell you what the maximum penalties are, if convicted;
- the right to a bench hearing (there is no right to a jury for a probation violation);
- the right to be inside the courtroom during the hearing, assisting your lawyer in your defense;
- the right to cross examine any and all witness called by the prosecution as a witness against you;
- the right to subpoena witnesses in order to require them to appear for you, so they can be called to testify;
- the Judge must presume throughout the probation violation hearing that you are innocent of the alleged violations;
- you have the absolute right to testify at your own probation violation hearing. Once you testify the prosecution and the Judge have the right to ask questions relevant to your probation violation;
- you also have the absolute right to remain silent, and not have the fact that you remained silent used against you in any way;
- the right to require the prosecution to prove his case by a preponderance of the evidence (in other words, he has to show that it is more likely than not that you violated your probation in at least one way);
- The right to appeal your VOP conviction, if the same occurs, to the extent allowed under Michigan law.
These rights really mean absolutely nothing if you do not assert the m. To aggressively fight your violation of probation or to present a reasonable explanation you better have a lawyer who knows what they are doing.
If your thought process is that you do not need a lawyer because a new criminal charge you caught is going to be dismissed, you should reconsider. A dismissal of a criminal charge does not always lead to a dismissal of a VOP, because VOPs are easier for the prosecution to prove. A VOP has a lower burden of proof (preponderance of the evidence) than a criminal case has (beyond a reasonable doubt). The rules of evidence also don't apply, so the prosecution can use hearsay against you which might not have been available for the new case you caught. For example, when the violation is for a domestic violence where the alleged victim isn't cooperating, the prosecution may try to use a combination of hearsay and photographs to try and have you found in violation of probation.
If the probation violation is based upon not paying your restitution, there is a defense based upon being too poor to pay. The Judge is not allowed to incarcerate you or revoke your probation unless he or she finds 2 things: first, that you did not make a good faith effort to pay; and second that you could pay what you owed without suffering a "manifest hardship". "Manifest hardship" is a legal test in Michigan that has a few different factors for the Judge to weigh: if your are employable; what financial resources you have to pay this money; what are your basic living expenses (clothing, food, shelter, child support, alimony, medical expenses, etc.); what you have the ability to earn; if you have a job; what is your employment history; whether or not your failure to pay was intentional; the existence of any other special circumstances. If being poor is your defense, you still need a lawyer to establish the defense (even though this is a catch 22 situation).
At a VOP hearing, sometimes an expert witness is your best defense. An expert witness is a person who can offer an opinion to the Judge due to the expert's qualifications and having special knowledge in a particular area (medical, psychology, science, engineering, chemistry, etc.). For example, if the issue at the VOP hearing was whether or not a probationer tested positive for alcohol, the defense might be that he didn't drink alcohol but his body came into contact with it through workplace chemicals. The expert might be able to convince the Judge, through preparation and questioning by VOP defense counsel, that the scientific evidence supports the defense. Expert testimony can prove to be very difficult to present and explain in an effective manner, and therefore you should hire a top quality VOP lawyer whenever presenting a defense involving an expert witness.
Even if you are convicted of probation violation by a conviction after a hearing or a guilty plea, your lawyer has the ability to try and persuade the Judge to be lenient prior to imposing the sentence. Your lawyer can help prepare you on the things you might say and do to help try to convince the Judge to give you another chance.
Why Choose Attorney Daniel Hilf For VOP Representation at the 41A District Court or Macomb Circuit Court?
- Highly respected by Judges and prosecutors in VOP representations of clients and other criminal matters;
- Immediate steps taken and advice given to help address and defend your violation of probation;
- Return of telephone calls and messages. Answers to your questions. Ease of your worries and concerns;
- Years of legal experience handling probation violation allegations in an aggressive, results oriented manner
Don't hire a lawyer unless you are convinced that he or she will do everything permissible to help you. Hiring a VOP lawyer is an important step in your life and future, so make sure you take the time and expense of hiring the lawyer that will have you back.
Criminal defense lawyer Daniel Hilf provides outstanding legal help for all criminal court matters in District, Circuit Juvenile, and Federal Court, including:
- Probation Violation
- Other Criminal Offenses
- Criminal Traffic
- Drug Offenses
- Domestic Violence
- Sex Offenses
- Retail Fraud
Your best bet on your future is to contact us immediately to help you.