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The Importance of a Dedicated Defense Attorney at Probation Violation Hearings in New York

When someone is placed on probation in lieu of jail time, it is generally seen as a win. However, often a sentence of probation is not the end of the story. Indeed, probationary sentences can be strictly enforced, and if someone fails to live up to each and every condition of the sentence, they risk being found in violation and face the possibility of jail or prison.

When someone violates a New York probation sentence, the judge who ordered the original sentence can re-sentence that person to up to the statutory maximum. Thus, what starts off as a short sentence of probation can turn into what seems like a lifetime of being wrapped up in the system. Thus, the importance of a New York criminal defense attorney in a probation hearing cannot be overstated.

Of course, when a person on probation picks up a new criminal case, that case is a potential direct violation of their probation sentence. This is because the terms of probation forbid picking up a new case. Normally, the person will not be found in violation until they have been found guilty of the new offense. If they are found not guilty, in theory, their sentence of probation should continue. If they are found guilty, the new conviction will be a direct violation, and the judge overseeing the probationary sentence will be able to re-sentence that person.

Not all violations of probation are due to a new case. There are also technical violations of probation. A technical violation occurs when someone fails to comply with a term of probation. For example, if a probationary sentence is contingent upon the person remaining drug-free, if they submit a positive drug test, that would be a technical violation. A recent case shows how a seemingly small infraction almost resulted in the revocation of a probationer’s sentence.

The Facts

The defendant was found guilty of a crime and placed on probation. As a term of the defendant’s probation, he was forbidden to associate with “convicted criminals.”

The defendant’s probation officer later found out that the defendant had visited his ex-girlfriend to help her walk her dog on four separate occasions. As it turns out, the defendant’s ex-girlfriend had a previous misdemeanor conviction for driving while intoxicated. The probation officer moved to revoke the defendant’s probation, based on an alleged technical violation of his probation.

The court found the defendant in violation of his probation, and he later appealed. On appeal, the defendant argued that he was not provided with fair notice of the allegations because the probation officer failed to list the times, dates, and places where the alleged violations occurred. This, the defendant argued, hamstrung his ability to defend against the allegations. The court agreed, reversing the violation of his probation.

Did You Violate Probation?

If you have recently discovered that your probation officer has moved to revoke your probation, you should immediately reach out to an attorney at the New York criminal defense law firm of Tilem & Associates. At Tilem & Associates, we represent those charged with serious New York crimes as well as those who have allegedly violated the terms of their probationary sentences. To learn more, call 877-377-8666 to schedule a free consultation with a New York criminal defense attorney.

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New York Appellate Court Reverses Conviction Based on Improper Use of Peremptory Strikes During Jury Selection, New York Criminal Attorney Blog, February 7, 2018