Defense Against a Probation Violation in Utah
If convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, many defendants are incarcerated. However, in those cases where a convicted person in Utah is not put in jail or prison, they are then placed on probation. The same happens for those released early from prison but still expected to serve out some remainder of time under restricted freedom. Probation essentially applies the administrative control of law enforcement over the person which, if violated, could put the convicted person in jail or prison as an additional punishment again.
Probation is not for a Defendant’s Goodwill
Probation is intended to solve a couple of issues in Utah. First, it relieves jails and prisons from overcrowding by reducing the population to those convicts that have committed serious and violent crimes versus those that have lesser convictions and don’t represent a major threat to society. However, it also continues to apply punishment and monitoring by law enforcement of the criminal. In a sense, probation is a limited freedom. The convicted party gets to remain in society, but he or she has to submit to regular reporting, perform court-ordered restitution such as community service, and is subject to incarceration if the terms of probation are violated. Further, probationers don’t have the same due process rights as regular citizens anymore. They can be returned to jail or prison without a full trial if a violation is found. So, the probationer is very much living under serious scrutiny versus a free person.
It is possible to seek early release from probation and sentencing altogether. If a convicted party has met all his or her requirements, continues to show exceptional good behavior, and has no reason or concern to be a risk to society in any manner, the probationer can petition the court for early release from probation altogether. While this is uncommon, it is possible and does happen occasionally. The difference can be immense in trying to find and obtain a viable career, for example, after a conviction.
Types of Probation
Probation in Utah falls under two forms: court criminal probation and supervised criminal probation. The former applies in lower misdemeanor cases where a convicted party is monitored by the court with regular progress reports, appearances, hearings, and reviews. Drug court processes, for example, are a common type of court-ordered probation. In these cases, the convicted party is expected to show progress in drug treatment and rehabilitation, in which graduation proof then gives the court reason to waive the original conviction and free the defendant.
Supervised criminal probation is more restrictive. In this form, the convicted party is supervised actively, must report to a probation officer, can be reviewed, and inspected without notice, and involves heavy contact with law enforcement compliance. This form of probation is often used as a replacement for or an extension of incarceration where violation can quickly put the defendant back behind bars administratively. This form of probation is operated by the Utah Department of Corrections and Adult Probation & Parole, and all government contact is through a correctional officer.
Types of Probation Violations and Prosecution
Probation violations vary, including missing report meetings, failing drug tests, not finding work as required, being out after hours, not being at a home address or work address as required, and more. A probation violation can be confirmed by the court or requested through a prosecutor’s motion to the court. In both instances, the decision is criminal in nature, which can result in a new arrest and even a new conviction, adding to an original sentence.
Violation prosecution must provide a notice to the probationer of the new charges. The probationer will appear in front of the court to defend him or herself, including representation by an attorney. This right is essential for a probationer to obtain a full hearing and evidence review of the alleged violation. Otherwise, the matter will generally be the court reviewing the prosecutor or probation officer’s report and deciding on that alone.
Don’t Defend Yourself Alone
If you or someone you know needs help with an alleged probation violation, don’t wait to call for help until the violation hearing. The Gordon Law Group is ready to help right away. Utah probation rules require a review hearing and a chance for the defense to make a case that the alleged violation is not accurate, but a defendant needs the expertise of a Heber Valley lawyer to make a case properly. As a Heber City criminal defense attorney team, the Gordon Law Group can protect your rights and avoid your violation charge simply being processed as more paperwork. Don’t be a statistic; call us today!