Are You Facing a Probation Violation?
Probation lets you avoid jail or prison time and other penalties, but it’s not an easy process. Typically, you must meet strict requirements that require regular reporting and certain activities, such as attending counseling sessions or performing community service. If you violate these terms, you might face increased penalties and jail or prison time. If you’ve been charged with a probation violation, you must act quickly.
What Is Probation?
Probation is an alternative to incarceration. If you’re a first-time offender or have extenuating circumstances, the judge might decide to let you avoid jail or prison time and complete a term of probation instead. But, probation is still a punishment.
Typically, probation requires you to:
- Meet with a probation officer regularly
- Stay out of trouble for a period of time (no new arrests, criminal charges, or convictions)
- Stay sober and participate in drug testing
- Complete court-ordered counseling or community service
- Get permission before you leave the city or state
- Pay your criminal court fees and make restitution
- Attend all scheduled court hearings
- Meet any other requirements set out in your sentence
Sometimes, probation requirements are so demanding that it seems impossible to meet them all. However, you should always do your best to comply with your sentence. And, if you make a mistake or the unexpected happens, contact a probation violation lawyer immediately.
What Is Pre-Prosecution Probation?
Pre-prosecution probation is a different kind of sentencing for first-time, non-violent felony offenders. Rather than face prosecution, you agree to complete one or two years of probation. If you successfully complete probation, the state will drop your criminal charges (and they won’t appear on your criminal record). If you violate probation, New Mexico can proceed with its criminal case against you.
What Happens if I Violate My Probation?
Sometimes, your probation officer will just issue a warning. However, other times, you’ll have to attend a court hearing. At this hearing, a judge will listen to both you and your probation officer’s stories and legal arguments. Based on this information, the judge will either allow you to continue on probation or might sentence you to jail or prison.
The judge has a lot of options when assessing a probation violation. Depending on your circumstances, the judge might:
- Lengthen your probation sentence
- Add new probation requirements (such as drug testing or requiring you to wear a monitoring device)
- Sentence you to jail or prison
- Increase your fines and penalties
However, you have legal rights after a probation violation — and you should vigorously defend them. For example, you might be able to reduce your jail or prison sentence by the time you successfully met your probation requirements.
While a probation violation hearing is “informal” it’s still in your best interest to work with an Albuquerque criminal defense lawyer. A lawyer can help you negotiate with your probation officer, present compelling arguments to the judge, and help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities as a probationer.
Do I Really Need a Probation Violation Lawyer?
If you’re facing a probation violation, a lot is at stake. An experienced New Mexico criminal defense lawyer might help you avoid longer jail or prison sentences, stricter probation requirements, and bigger fines. At Twohig Law Firm, we will listen to the circumstances of your case, assess the strength of your defenses, and help you build a strategy that minimizes your additional penalties. We also help our clients understand the terms of their probation, helping them avoid probation violations altogether.
If you’d like to learn more about our criminal defense services and personalized approach, contact Twohig Law Firm for a free, no-risk consultation.
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