Probation Violation Attorney West Bloomfield MI
Whenever you are charged with probation violation, the proper course of action is to hire a trusted lawyer to defend you, such as attorney Daniel Hilf. A probation violation (also referred to as a VOP or a violation of probation) can result in an extreme hardship for you and your family if a conviction occurs, because you are at the Judge's mercy when it comes to a probation violation sentence. Some Judges are patient and may be willing to give you a second chance and other Judges have no sympathy and feel that if you cannot follow their original sentencing order there needs to be a severe consequence. For probation violations at the 48th District Court in Bloomfield Hills or for felony probation violations at the 6th Circuit Court, those Judges are not always the easiest to deal with and often choose to incarcerate. The work your probation violation attorney performs on your behalf may prove the difference between sleeping in your own bed and serving a term of incarceration.
The options the Judge has for most probation violations does not mandate taking the probationer into custody. The options the Judge has are:
- dismissing the VOP and issuing a warning;
- making your probation a lot tougher by adding more probation conditions, increasing existing probation conditions, and/or making you serve a longer term of probation;
- take away a diversionary status such as HYTA, 769.4a, 7411, etc. and having the conviction appear on your public record;
- Incarceration for as little as 1 day, up to the maximum sentence that your original conviction allows;
- ordering you to complete a combination of any and and all of the above.
After obtaining your lawyer, you will need to make a decision about how you want to proceed. There are basically 2 options: conducting a VOP hearing or entering a guilty plea. Which choice you intend to make is a discussion you need to make with your lawyer. Your lawyer should provide you with advice as to any potential defenses, what is your likelihood of success is, and what strategies you can explore to give yourself the best chance of winning or minimizing the sentence.
For a violation of probation hearing you have the following rights:
- the right to a hearing in front of your Judge to challenged the alleged violations against you;
- the right to be advised of the maximum possible amount of incarceration that the Judge can impose if you are convicted;
- the right to a speeding hearing (within 14 days of arraignment) if you are not free on bond;
- the right to have the Judge presume you innocent, unless the prosecution can prove the violation;
- the right to have a lawyer defend you at the violation hearing;
- the right to have the prosecution attempt to prove your guilt by a preponderance of the evidence (show that the violation is more likely than not accurate), and to not have the burden of proof ever shift to the defense;
- the right to be in the courtroom during the hearing so you can see and hear the witnesses testify and to assist your lawyer in the defense of the case;
- the right to have all witnesses against you cross examined under oath;
- the right to have your own witnesses testify under oath, and to force their attendance (if necessary) by the issuance of a subpoena;
- the right to testify in front of the Judge under oath and to fully present your side of the story;
- the right to remain silent at the VOP hearing and have your silence not used or inferred against you in any type of way;
- the right, if necessary, to attempt to appeal your conviction, and to have a lawyer assist you with that effort.
The truth be told - these rights only have real substance and value if you have a greatly experienced VOP defense lawyer to present your defense, or your side of the story. Choosing to represent yourself is always the wrong decision, and the money to hire a lawyer should never be an issue when it comes to defending your future.
The first procedural step for all probation violations is the arraignment, where the Judge advises you in court of the probation violation charges, enters a plea, and has the option of setting a bond. Defense counsel may seek delay of further VOP proceedings for a number of reasons including: need to determine, locate, interview, and subpoena witnesses; need for additional preparation of the VOP defense; desire to seek and obtain an opinion from an expert witness and to potentially arrange for them to testify; lawyer scheduling issues (trials, vacations, doctor's appointments, etc.); waiting the see what the result is for a new case that the Defendant received while on probation. It is up to the Judge to decide if he or she will give your lawyer more time to prepare your VOP defense.
VOPs can be pursued even if a new charge against you while on probation gets dismissed. There are several reasons for this: first, often the alleged conduct is still an issue. For example, if you have a DUI that is dismissed, the prosecutor still might want to challenge whether or not you used alcohol while on probation; Second, the burden of proof for the prosecutor is far less at a probation violation (preponderance of the evidence), compared to the burden of proof for pending criminal charges (beyond a reasonable doubt); Third, the rules of evidence don't apply. Hearsay and the inability to produce complaining witnesses are not barriers to obtaining a probation violation conviction.
If the reason for the probation violation is due to failure to pay, poverty may (or may not) be a defense. The Court cannot incarcerate the person or revoke probation unless the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence two different things: 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". Manifest hardship at a VOP hearing consists of the Judge making a calculation of the following: if the Defendant is gainfully employed; if the Defendant has an employment history; if the Defendant is employable; what the Defendant is able to earn; whether or not the Defendant's failure to pay was willful; what financial resources the Defendant has to pay what is owed; what are the Defendant's basic living expenses (shelter, food, child support, medical expenses, etc.); the existence of any other relevant special circumstances.
The use of expert witness testimony is sometimes very important to defend a VOP. For example, if the probation violation hearing issue is whether the Defendant falsely tested positive to alcohol because he or she inhaled alcohol fumes at a work site, an expert witness is probably needed to try and convince the Court that the explanation offered is true and supported by science.
To present a defense, such as the defenses listed above, you need the representation of a well trained, professional defense lawyer. Even if convicted a lawyer can help you, because the right VOP lawyer will give you great advice how to possibly avoid or reduce any sentence from the Court by providing you with a comprehensive VOP defense and sentencing strategy.Why Choose Attorney Daniel Hilf For Probation Violation Representation in West Bloomfield?
- Many years of Oakland County VOP defense experience in District and Circuit Court;
- A well staffed, professional, and conveniently located office in Troy Michigan;
- Immediate action taken to provide you with sound advice and effective strategies to address the probation violation;
- Keeps you informed of your case status, answers your questions, and helps to develop a comprehensive VOP strategy;
Go with your gut, and hire the VOP specialist who you are confident in. This is a very important decision that can impact your family, your employment, and your future. Make the smart decision, and give attorney Daniel Hilf the opportunity to be your lawyer at your probation violation hearing.
Veteran criminal attorney Daniel Hilf provides comprehensive, award winning legal defense for the following types of criminal matters:
- Probation Violation
- Drug Offenses
- Sex Offenses
- Domestic Violence
- Retail Fraud
- Criminal Traffic
- Other Criminal Offenses
If you have been charged with a probation violation and need great defense work at your next hearing date, contact us immediately for legal help.