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Grand Junction Probation Violation Attorneys

Facing Probation Violation Charges

Step one foot out of line and the law will come down hard on you. Many probation violators don’t even know they did anything wrong, because the Colorado legal system can be a confusing maze. But that won’t stop a Mesa court judge from sending you to jail.

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Violating Probation

There are two types of probation violations: technical and substantive.

  • A technical violation is when you do something like forget a counseling session that was part of your court-ordered probation.
  • A substantive violation is when you’re accused of committing a brand-new crime while on probation.

When you are put on probation, you will be given certain conditions that you must follow to keep your probationary rights. Breaking these conditions would be considered a violation and is grounds for a probation violation hearing. You will be given a written statement of these conditions to ensure that you know and understand them.

While each case is different, and you receive conditions based on criminal history and the type of crime committed, every sentence will have a few more common conditions attached:

  • You may not commit another offense/crime
  • You must pay restitutions to any victims involved
  • You may not harass or intimidate any victims or witnesses
  • You must allow any substance testing and treatment that is ordered
  • You must follow any court orders for registration for the sex offender list

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Probation Violation Hearings

Violating any terms of your probation can lead to you being arrested and taken into custody. Often you are arrested with a “no bond” warrant, meaning that a hearing must be held before a judge can set a bail and allow you out of jail. A “Motion to Revoke Probation” (MRP) will also be filed. The prosecution will present this motion before the court during your probation violation hearing.

During this hearing, you are permitted to have an attorney, so you should have an experienced criminal defense lawyer at your side. There will be no jury, and the judge will decide your case. Evidence will be presented by the prosecution as to how your probation was violated and why it should be revoked. Your attorney will be given the chance to rebut and refute these allegations, which leaves the judge to determine what the outcome of the case will be.

There are a few possible rulings that the judge can make. They could revoke your probation and order you returned to custody to serve the rest of your sentence. Your probation may be allowed to continue, but the terms might be changed. The motion can be denied, allowing you to continue on with the terms of your probation.

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Standard of Proof

The standard of proof is the amount of evidence necessary to determine proof in criminal cases. Generally speaking, for criminal cases the standard of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt,” meaning that based on common sense and the evidence presented, there can be no doubt that the defendant is guilty of the crime they’ve been charged with.

Unfortunately, that is not always the case with probation violation hearings. Often, the standard of proof is actually lower. Instead of beyond reasonable doubt, it is “by a preponderance of the evidence.” If that judge feels the evidence presented shows your guilt, then they will most likely allow the motion and revoke your probation.

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Possible Defenses

A good Grand Junction criminal defense attorney will be able to figure out what the best defense for you during your probation violation hearing will be. As the defendant in this case, the prosecution is the one that has the burden of proof. They must provide evidence that you are guilty. On the other hand, you do not have to prove you are innocent, just that the prosecution has failed to properly demonstrate your guilt.

You may not even need to compile too much evidence and can instead use the prosecution’s evidence against them. Your lawyer could argue that the drug tests were unreliable or tainted, that there was a misidentification, and you were mistaken for another individual, or perhaps that any witnesses brought forward were not reliable.

Or, if you do not want to risk a lengthy court case, you can admit to the violation and allow your attorney to negotiate to keep your freedom and probation.

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Q: What is a probation violation hearing?

A: Probation is an alternative to jail where the convicted person agrees to meet certain conditions for a specific amount of time under the supervision of a parole officer (PO).

In a probation violation hearing, the person who has been charged with violating probation will have to go before a judge who will decide if the defendant will be returning to prison. The probationer’s attorney will either attempt to prove that the charges against their client are false, or, if the parolee is admitting guilt, the attorney will attempt to convince the judge to allow the offender to remain on probation.

The judge may decide to resolve the hearing in one of three ways:

  • Revoke the probation and send the offender to jail;
  • Allow probation to continue under the existing terms; or
  • Allow probation to continue under new terms

Q: Who reports a probation violation?

A: The PO is usually the person who reports the parole violation to the court. Anyone who is aware of an alleged probation violation may report the incident to the offender’s probation officer. Depending on the nature of the violation, the PO will decide whether to issue a summons or have the individual arrested and brought before a judge.

Q: What are some general probation conditions?

A: The court is allowed to impose any reasonable conditions on the offender that will help the individual maintain a law-abiding life. The probationer will be given a written statement of the conditions, which may include:

  • Not harassing, intimidating, or tampering with any victims or prosecution witnesses
  • Not committing new any legal offenses
  • Drug testing
  • Public service
  • Paying restitution to the victim(s)
  • Mental health counseling
  • Drug and alcohol classes

Q: What is a motion hearing?

A: A motion hearing is the defendant’s first meeting with a judge after their probation has allegedly been violated. The defendant may already be in custody at this time. An attorney may be present to defend the probationer at the motion hearing.

At the motion hearing, the individual will be advised of their rights to secure an attorney if they do not already have one, and they will be notified that a public defender will be appointed if one is requested. If the defendant is already in custody, they may request a probation violation hearing to take place within 14 days.

Q: What is the court process for a probation violation hearing?

A: A defendant who is taken into custody for a probation violation may be arrested on a “no bond” warrant, which means bail is not an option.

The prosecutor will file a Motion to Revoke Probation (MRP), and this motion will be heard in court before a judge. The probationer will be advised of their rights and the charges against them, and they will be asked to plead guilty or not guilty.

Evidence and testimony may be presented, and the probationer’s attorney is allowed to defend them. Then the judge will determine the outcome of the hearing.

Q: What evidence can a prosecutor use to demonstrate someone has violated probation?

A: The PO’s violation complaint, report, and memorandum will be presented in addition to any other evidence or testimony the prosecutor wishes to use. Some types of evidence that aren’t normally admissible in a criminal court proceeding, such as hearsay or out-of-court statements, may be admissible in a probation violation hearing.

Q: What happens if I lose a probation violation hearing?

A: The court will issue a statement within seven days determining if probation will be continued or revoked. If probation is revoked, the court may choose to grant any sentence or probation conditions that were originally imposed.

Q: Can I appeal a probation violation decision?

A: It’s possible to appeal the probation violation ruling, but this generally requires you to prove a procedural violation, as opposed to disproving the evidence or testimony that was presented in the probation violation hearing.

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Call Us for Help

You may not have to go to jail if you hire a skilled Grand Junction criminal defense lawyer who knows Western Slope courts backward and forward. At Peters & Nolan, LLC, we fully investigate all our clients’ cases to find the best way to help you. If you need a probation violation attorney, talk to us today.

Give us a call at (970) 243-4357 to request your FREE consultation.

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Call Peters & Nolan, LLC at 970-243-4357 or contact us online today to schedule your free consultation.

About Us

Peters & Nolan, LLC is your ideal source for high quality legal representation throughout the state of Colorado. Known for being personable and responsive, attorneys Andrew J. Peters and Andrew Nolan are aggressive trial lawyers with an excellent record of trying and settling cases in criminal defense, DUI/DWAI and personal injury.