Wednesday, 12 September 2012

How The System Works If You Violate Parole

How The System Works If You Violate Parole

By James O Davis

The Breakdown

Probation is a basic concept. It is when the courts will allow someone to avoid imprisonment as long as they agree to be supervised by a government appointed official known as a probation officer. It will be the individual's responsibility to adhere to all rules and guidelines of the probation that were set forth by the courts. This means that they will be responsible for showing up to all scheduled appointments, fulfilling any community service, finding employment, and maintaining a residence. There are more rules and guidelines that may be required, but the court will take into consideration the nature of the crime before setting these guidelines.

The violation of probation is not something that should be taken lightly; there are two ways that an individual may violate their probation.

A technical violation is rather common. It is when the individual that is on parole fails to meet one of the requirements or breaks a rule and therefore violates the terms of their probation. This could be a failure to be present at a scheduled meeting, failing a drug test, relocation without permission, or a number of other violations.

A Substantive violation is when an individual on probation commits a completely new crime and therefore violates their probation. A person that violates their parole can be charge with a VOP (violation of parole charge), and this could mean imprisonment.

VOP Charge

A VOP charge means that the case must be brought before a judge. This is a completely different process than a regular criminal trial. The court could require that the individual on probation is required to testify against themselves. They could also use hearsay to build their case, and no longer need to worry about supplying proof beyond a reasonable doubt. They just need to supply sufficient evidence to convince the judge that the violation occurred.

Once the court and the judge believe that a violation has occurred then an arrest warrant will be issued. This will mean that the individual facing the VOP charge will most likely be placed in jail until the court is able to hear their case.

One of the worst things that a person can do when they know that they may be facing VOP charges is to skip following through with their requirements. It is crucial to keep making all appointments with a probation officer to help to convince the judge that a 2nd chance may be a good idea.

Once the judge has reviewed the case and has decided that a guilty verdict is justified than one of three things will happen. The judge will give the parolee a 2nd chance and let them continue with probation with the current terms, but warn not to violate them again. The judge may allow the person on probation to continue with the probation, but amend the terms of the probation. Lastly, the judge may choose to revoke the probation which would result in imprisonment.

VOP charges are no laughing matter. A judge who chooses to revoke probation is allowed to issue imprisonment for up to the maximum for the original crime committed. VOP charges are serious, and anyone that may be faced with them should seek out a knowledgeable criminal attorney as soon as possible. A qualified attorney will not provide guidance throughout the hearing, but they will also be able to provide key information that could help to minimize the imprisonment time or probation restrictions.

James Davis is a Jacksonville based Criminal Attorney. His website James Davis Defense offers criminal law services as well as a Blog with answers to many law questions.

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