Probation may be the best potential sentence that a defendant can receive, whether they have been convicted or their attorney has struck a plea deal in a criminal matter. It allows you to live in your community rather than being incarcerated. However, there are certain conditions that you will need to meet and rules that you must follow while on probation in New Jersey. Failing to abide by the probation terms can result in a violation of probation charge and penalties. If you are charged with a probation violation, you should consult a New Jersey probation violation lawyer at the Grimes Law Firm.Probation Terms
In New Jersey, a judge can put you on probation for a maximum of five years. The court will impose certain conditions for that period. A probation officer will supervise you during the probationary period to make sure that you are meeting any required conditions. Conditions that you may need to meet include reporting to your probation officer, going to school, maintaining gainful employment, doing a certain number of hours of community service, refraining from drinking or doing drugs, passing any drug tests, receiving anger management or addiction counseling, performing a specific number of community service hours, not associating with certain people, or abiding by a curfew.Probation Violations
When there is a violation of the terms or conditions of probation, you may be charged with a violation of probation. You should never assume that you will not be caught or charged for a probation violation simply because you are on good terms with your probation officer. Even a slight refusal to abide by the terms and conditions of probation can result in a violation of probation charge. You should consult a probation violation attorney in New Jersey without delay if this happens to you.
A probation officer who realizes that you violated probation will file a violation of probation complaint with the court. The complaint will set forth what the violation was. The court will conduct a hearing about the violation. If you do not go to the hearing and are required to do so, a bench warrant will be issued for your arrest.Hearing
The violation of probation hearing has two parts. First, the court will determine whether there was a probation violation. You can either plead guilty or plead not guilty. If you plead guilty, a sentence is imposed. However, if you plead not guilty, the court will conduct a trial concerning the probation violation. You will be entitled to present and cross-examine witnesses. Unlike most criminal trials, you will not have a right to trial by jury, and the standard of proof is merely “a preponderance of the evidence,” rather than the higher standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.” A New Jersey probation violation attorney can explain how this may affect the proceedings.
During the hearing, the judge will hear your explanation about the probation violation. The court will determine whether the complaint of violation of probation is valid. If the court determines that you did not violate probation, you will be free to leave. However, if you are found guilty of a probation violation, you will be penalized.
In the second part of the hearing, the court will impose a sentence. The penalty will depend on how serious the violation was. In some cases, a judge will decide to continue the existing probationary period with additional conditions. In other cases, probation may be extended with the same conditions. When the violation is serious, you may be resentenced for the original crime that landed you on probation.
Since your probation may be revoked, and you may be incarcerated based on the outcome of the hearing, it is important to take a violation of probation seriously. It is wise to retain an attorney to represent you. Your attorney may be able to argue that the complaint is incorrect. Alternatively, they may be able to show that it was a one-time violation or that it was inadvertent or minor. They also may be able to show that what the complaint sets forth as a violation of probation was not a violation of probation.Retain an Experienced Probation Violation Lawyer in New Jersey
If you are charged with a probation violation, you should discuss your situation with a seasoned criminal defense attorney. At the Grimes Law Firm, we fight for people charged with crimes in Somerset County and throughout New Jersey and the tri-state area. Contact us at (908) 371-1066 or complete our online form.