I Was Given Probation. Now What?
In many criminal cases, a defendant receives a sentence involving probation, usually before or instead of serving a jail or prison sentence. While on probation, the defendant is required to follow specific rules for his or her behavior. The rules vary depending on the specific case and type of crime, but often include:
- Meeting with probation officer regularly
- Coming to scheduled court appearances
- Staying away from specific people or places
- Not using drugs or alcohol
- Submitting to drug and alcohol testing
- Not leaving the state without probation officer’s permission
- Following all laws
If the defendant successfully completes probation, the defendant’s case has likely finished. If the defendant is not successful on probation, there are a few different ways the case can go.
If a defendant is on probation and violates any of his or her conditions, the probation agent and the administrative law judge can decide to revoke the defendant’s probation, give them a second chance at probation, or provide an alternative program.
Probation Revocation Hearing
Ultimately, if the probation agent wants to revoke the defendant’s probation, there will be a revocation hearing. At the hearing, the administrative law judge will determine whether there are grounds to revoke probation or if the defendant should continue on his or her probation sentence.
When probation is revoked, the defendant’s sentence follows what the judge decided at the original sentencing hearing. The judge had either withheld a sentence or imposed and stayed the sentence.
You Are Only Guilty If You Are Convicted
Sentencing after Probation Revocation
If the judge withheld a sentence, the judge will evaluate the case and determine the defendant’s new sentence. Keep in mind the judge could give the defendant the maximum sentence for his or her charge.
If, however, the sentence given at the original sentencing hearing was imposed and stayed for probation, then that sentence must be given to the defendant. For example, if at the original sentencing hearing the judge sentenced the defendant to 9 months in the house of corrections, imposed and stayed for two years of probation, and that probation is revoked, then the defendant must be sentenced to 9 months in the house of corrections. The judge does not have any leeway as to what the sentence should be.
With so much on the line, a defendant really needs to have an experienced attorney with him or her every step of the way. Whether you’ve been convicted of misdemeanor battery or a first offense OWI, having an advocate on your side is essential to getting your penalties reduced as much as possible.