Making a misstep while you’re on probation is unfortunately all too easy. Sometimes, you may not even realize that you’re doing something wrong until the hammer comes down. That’s why it is so important to make sure that you truly understand all of the terms of your probation and what you are and are not allowed to do.
Unfortunately, if you’ve been charged with a probation violation, that advice won’t help, and you’re life is about to get a lot harder. You may face jail or prison time – as well as other sanctions – if you don’t fight the charges and protect your rights.
Luckily, you have several options for defending yourself.
Common Defenses People Use to Fight Probation Violation Charges
Read this list to see if any of these six defenses fit your situation.
1. The filing dates are incorrect.
Sometimes the court system will incorrectly assign terms longer than the appropriate ranges for your sentence. If the error is discovered, your term may be dropped, shortened, or amended on different terms.
2. You can’t pay your fines.Your sentence likely included fees, fines, and possibly wage garnishments. If you can prove that you lost control of your financial situation due to no fault of your own, your charges may be changed or revised.
This situation is highly dependent upon your personal circumstances and the court’s subjective judgment. Some factors may work against you. For example, if restitution is still owed, the courts may not look favorably upon your situation. Also, if you don’t pay your fees but can still afford “luxury” items, such as alcohol or a cell phone, you may not qualify for a plea of indigence.
However, if a partial or full payment of what is owed can be made by someone else on your behalf, the charge may be dismissed. Also, your attorney may be able to help you work out a deal for community service instead of payment. It all depends on your situation and your record, but this may be a solid defense that works for you.
3. You were unable to report for solid reasons.
If you were incarcerated or hospitalized, you may have been unable to fulfill the terms of your probation. Be forewarned that excuses such as arriving late, forgetfulness, or no transportation will always be viewed as illegitimate.
4. You didn’t submit pertinent documents for valid reasons.
If you are serving community service or obtaining your GED and do not turn in documents, this can be viewed as a probation violation. Turning in documents on time will help you avoid charges, but if you turn them in late, the possibility exists that you may be excused by the courts. If you couldn’t complete these services or educational requirements due to certain conditions, such as mental illness, a learning disability, or illiteracy, the court may accept your defense.
5. You falsely tested positive for drugs or alcohol.
Tests may come back positive because they were incorrectly administered or because consumption of particular foods threw off the results. You can request confirmation from a laboratory, which should override the false positive tests.
Some judges may rule in your favor if you unknowingly consumed alcohol or prescription drugs when you were placed on probation. Again, it depends on your situation, your history with substance abuse, and the view of the court.
6. The alleged victim contacts you.
If you have been ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim of a crime but they approach you, you may be able to build a solid defense. You can gather phone records and emails to prove you were not the one who initiated contact.
An experienced defense attorney who gets results can build a solid defense for your unique situation. Your attorney will work to help you avoid the heavy penalties the court may administer. Contact us today to set up your free consultation.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is a Minneapolis-based criminal and DWI defense attorney known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge, and recognized as a Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Star (2014–2015), a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013–2015), and a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney (2013–2015).