Probation Violation Attorney Warren MI
If you receive a court notice for a probation violation, you should immediately obtain legal representation from a lawyer with the experience and ability to properly defend you, such as attorney Daniel Hilf. A probation violation (also known as a violation of probation or VOP), places you at the mercy of your Judge if you are convicted. Some Judges are willing to give breaks and second chances depending upon what the violation is for. Other Judges view probation violations as nuisances and are more inclined to order jail or prison than continue with probationary supervision. The job your legal representation performs on your behalf may end up being the difference between a second chance and serving time. If your case is from Warren Michigan, and you are on probation with a Judge from the 37th District Court in Warren or Macomb County Circuit Court, these Judges are sometimes strict in the manner they view probation violations.
When it comes to probation violations, there are different ways that the Judge handle a probation violation conviction:
- add more probation conditions (counseling, alcohol testing, community service, fines/costs, etc.);
- make probation more difficult (more frequent drug testing, additional community service hours, etc.);
- make your probation end at a later date;
- have the conviction entered on your record, if it was previously kept off through a diversion type program (7411; HYTA, 769.4a; 771.1; etc.);
- issue a warning not to violate again, and continue your probation;
- order confinement in jail or prison, depending upon limitations based upon the maximum sentence the charge carries;
- choose a combination of the above listed options.
Your first task for a probation violation is to select your lawyer. With every probation violation there is an arraignment that occurs at the first probation violation related court date, where the Judge has the option of setting a bond. Even though you are presumed innocent of the violations, the Judge can choose to have you incarcerated during the probation violation proceedings at his or her discretion.
Once you have a lawyer, you will have to make a decision about how you want to proceed. There are two choices: have a hearing to challenge the probation violation or plead guilty. Your lawyer, if properly experienced, will provide you with options as to defending the accusation, and steps that you can take to help you chances if you are convicted after a hearing or by plea. Your VOP attorney may need to ask the Court for a delay in the proceedings 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. It is up to the Judge to decide, after listening to your lawyer, if the request to adjourn the proceedings is granted or denied.
In all Michigan courtrooms, you have due process rights to make sure the violation of probation is handled fairly and procedurely:
- the right to retain the lawyer of your choice. Most Judges will give additional time to find a lawyer if you make the request;
- the right for persons who are in custody to have the violation of probation hearing take place within 14 days of the arraignment;
- the right to be advised in writing of the nature of the alleged probation violations, and the possible punishment that the Judge can order if the violations are established as accurate to the satisfaction of the Court;
- the right to a hearing in front of your assigned Judge where the accusations can be contested;
- the right to assist in your defense. You will have the opportunity to see and hear all the witnesses testify, examine all exhibits entered, and confer with your lawyer;
- the right to cross examine any and all prosecution witnesses who are called to testify;
- the right to subpoena witnesses and have those witnesses appear before the Judge to offer testimony concerning the alleged probation violation;
- the right to offer testimony in your own defense if you want to, and the right to remain silent if you don't want to testify;
- the right to have your Judge presume you innocent of all the probation violations, unless the violations can be established against you to the satisfaction of the Court;
- the right to have the prosecution try to establish by a preponderance of the evidence (show that it is more likely that not true) that you violated at least 1 condition of your probation, and to be continued on probation if this burden of proof is not met;
- the right to try and appeal any conviction for probation violation to a higher court for review.
The above listed rights only have true meaning and true value if you have legal counsel to offer you effective probation violation representation. Representing yourself is a bad choice, because only a skilled VOP lawyer has the legal acumen, litigation experience, and emotional detachment to present your case in the best possible light.
If you have a new criminal charge, and you are confident that it will be dismissed, you still need legal representation for your probation violation. Even when a new charge is dismissed, the prosecution still has the ability to proceed against you, because the prosecutor's burden of proof for a probation violation (preponderance of the evidence) is less than the burden of proof for a criminal charge (beyond a reasonable doubt). The rules of evidence do not apply in the same manner (for example, hearsay evidence is allowed), which also can make the prosecutor's job easier. Even with a new charge being dismissed, the behavior that allegedly lead to the arrest might still be an issue. For example, if a probationer's dismissed criminal charge was for a drinking and driving, the VOP may be based on having a positive PBT reading for alcohol at the scene of the stop (provided the probationer was ordered to not consume alcohol while on probation).
If the probation violation is based only upon not paying money that is owed, poverty is not always a defense. In order to revoke probation and/or place the probationer in jail, the Judge needs to determine by a preponderance of the evidence that the probationer did not make a good faith effort to pay, and that the probationer had the ability to pay what he or she owed without suffering a "manifest hardship". There is no legal definition for what constitutes a "manifest hardship"; but only a list of factors that the Judge allowed to weigh and consider. The factors for "manifest hardship" are: if the probationer is employable; what financial resources the probationer has; what are the probationer's basic living expenses (clothing, food, shelter, child support, medical expenses, etc.); what the probationer has the ability to earn; if the probationer currently has a job; the probationer's employment history; whether or not the failure to pay was purposeful; the existence of any other special circumstances that are relevant to the Judge's determination.
Some probation violation defenses are only possible by using the opinion of an expert witness. An expert witness is a person who the Court qualifies as having some form of special knowledge in a particular field (such as chemistry, engineering, medicine, etc.) that may assist the Judge in making a determination. For example, if the probationer tested positive for alcohol and offers a defense that he did not drink any alcohol, an expert witnesses in certain situations may conclude that the likely positive test was due to faulty testing procedures. Needless to say, a person self representing himself or herself would not have a clue as to how to offer the Court expert witness testimony.
If convicted of probation violation, the Judge is required to give you and your lawyer a chance to speak before imposing a sentence. If you hire an experienced, talented VOP lawyer, that lawyer will give you advice as to what to do and what to say to help increase your chances of a lenient result.Why Choose Attorney Daniel Hilf For a Macomb County Probation Violation?
- Highly respected by Judges and prosecutors in Warren and Macomb County for criminal matters;
- Award winning, highly rated, legal advocacy provided;
- Able to provide sound advice and clear recommendations as to the best way to proceed;
- Payment plans and credit card payments are accepted in many instances;
- Returns telephone calls and email messages to keep you informed and to provide advice;
Do not hire a lawyer who is all talk and no action, or who does not give you the time of day to answer your questions or to plan your defense. Having a trusted lawyer means everything when it comes to your stressful VOP situation.
Criminal defense lawyer Daniel Hilf provides outstanding legal help in Warren and throughout Macomb County for all criminal related matters, including:
- Probation Violation
- Criminal Traffic
- Other Criminal Offenses
- Domestic Violence
- Sex Offenses
- Retail Fraud
- Drug Offenses
When you need an outstanding lawyer, contact us immediately for help.