Many criminal convictions result in the actor being sentenced to a term of probation instead of imprisonment. Based on the Judge’s directives at the time of sentencing, the defendant may be required to pay fines and/or restitution, perform community service in addition to reporting to probation and remaining arrest and drug free during the period of probation. Once sentence has been imposed by the Court, the defendant’s compliance is monitored by the Probation Department. So long as the defendant is compliant with the terms of his or her probation, the process is uneventful and the defendant is eventually released after successful completion of the sentence.
When a defendant fails to comply with the terms of his or her probation, the probation officer can file a Violation of Probation (VOP) complaint against the defendant. This complaint lists, with specificity, the ways in which the defendant is alleged to have violated the terms and conditions of probation. In most instances the defendant appears before the same judge who imposed the probationary sentence. Failure to appear will generally result in a bench warrant for the defendant’s arrest.
At the VOP hearing the judge will first determine whether or not the defendant has violated his or her probation. Sentence is usually imposed immediately after a finding of guilt. The prosecutor, the probation case worker, the defendant and/or his counsel are usually given an opportunity to address the court regarding the sentence. Remarks to the court may explain the circumstances of the violation or give reasons why one sentence is preferable to another. The sentencing judge can extend the term of probation, change the terms and conditions of probation, terminate probation or sentence the defendant to a term of incarceration without regard to the previously negotiated plea.
If you have been charged with a violation of probation it is important that you discuss your situation with an experienced criminal attorney and that you appear with representation at your VOP hearing so that your rights are protected and you get the best possible outcome.
If you have been accused of violating the terms of your probation, contact Attorney Austin immediately at (973) 735-2706 or on line for your free consultation.