What is Probation?
Probation is a sentence which may be imposed by a court in lieu of incarceration. A defendant who is “on probation” has been convicted of a crime but has served only part of the sentence in prison or has not served time at all. In Michigan, probation is a sentencing option for misdemeanors and many felonies (these are commonly called “probationable” offenses), but not for higher-order felonies, such as capital crimes, forcible rape, and others.
Probation is a form of leniency that allows an individual convicted of a crime to remain in society, and is at a Judge’s discretion during sentencing. You may have probably already heard that under Michigan law, your probation is a privilege not a right, and in premise, probation can be revoked for any reason or no reason at all. If you have been given probation or probation was granted after some jail time has been completed, you will find yourself placed under the supervision of a probation officer, an employee of the prison system and the Michigan Department of Corrections. An offender on probation is normally ordered to follow certain conditions set forth by the court, under the supervision of a probation officer, ordinarily you are required to:
- Refrain from possessing firearms
- Remain employed
- Refrain from contact with the victims
- Refrain from contact with the groups of potential victims
- Abide to a curfew
- Live at a directed place
- Obey the orders of the probation officer
- The offender on probation may be fitted with an electronic tag, which signals her or his whereabouts to officials
- Submit to alcohol / drug testing
- Participate in alcohol / drug or psychological treatment
- Perform community service
- Pay fines and costs associated with the crime
My Probation Officer has violated me, now what?
If your probation officer suspects you violated any term of your probation, you may receive a notice of violation or probation revocation hearing. At a violation or revocation hearing, the court will determine whether the violation occurred as charged. Unlike most criminal proceedings, a probation revocation hearing is conducted without a jury, and the decision as to whether you violated your probation is rest entirely in the hands of your sentencing Judge. Another difference is that the prosecution need not prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but rather only by a preponderance of the evidence, i.e. “that it is more likely than not” or that there is 51% chance or greater that you committed the activity you stand accused of.
If you receive such a notice or even if you think you may have violated your probation but have not accused of such, contact us immediately, so we can begin working to mitigate your damages, keep you out of jail, and see that you successfully complete probation. Call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.
What happens if the court finds you violated your probation?
If the Court finds you violated your probation it will take one of the following steps:
- Revoke the probation and sentence the defendant on the underlying offense. If probation is revoked, the court may sentence you in the same manner and to the same penalty as it could have done if probation had never been granted. In short, your original sentence would be reactivated. MCL 771.4, MCR 6.445(G)
2. Modify the conditions of the probation, or extend the period of probation. In addition to revoking your probation, the Court might modify the conditions of your probation to require more meetings, counseling or community service, or to impose more restrictions on your freedom.
3. Continue the probation without punishment for the violation. Obviously this is the most preferred outcome. In these situations, the court or your probation officer may choose merely to give you a warning.
What follows are some of the most common ways to violate your probation:
- Moving/Changing your residence without notifying and/or obtaining authorization from your probation officer
- Failing to pay Court imposed fines or restitution
- Failing a drug or alcohol test, i.e. dropping dirty / dirty drop
- Being charged/arrested for a new, separate crime
- Leaving the state without the permission
- Associating with a known criminal, or an individual which your probation specifically forbids.
- Missing an appointment with your probation officer
- Failing to complete a court-ordered program
- Failing to appear at a scheduled court appointment
- Failing to maintain employment or school
If you find yourself in this situation, do not hesitate to contact one of Garmo & Kiste, PLC’s skilled attorneys, in efforts of maximizing your chances to minimize you or your loved ones being subjected to further punishment, the possibility of prison, and worsening your criminal record. Call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.
Why hire us?
One of the greatest advantages of hiring our firm is the connections we bring to the process. Typically we know the prosecutor and the judge, allowing us to anticipate the judge’s reactions, understand how the prosecutor will want to proceed, and to negotiate the best deal for our clients in efforts of removing as much uncertainty from the process as possible. For this reason, looking for an attorney who practices in the county where you were violated is particularly helpful. That said we regularly practice in the counties of Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, and Lapeer, Livingston, Washtenaw, Genesee, and St. Clair.
Even if you are arrested for a new crime, Garmo & Kiste, PLC will fight for a dismissal of the new charges, or to ensure that the new sentence runs concurrently with (and not consecutively after) the probation sentence.
Let us help you navigate the Court system’s rough waters, and keep you out of jail. For more information about probation violation hearings, and/or to retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.