Probation is one of the most valuable tools in the toolbox of a Muskogee criminal defense attorney. It allows a person who would otherwise go to jail or prison to be released back into society in exchange for that person’s adherence to certain terms and conditions imposed by the court for a period of time. When the other option is to serve time, the limited number of conditions imposed by a court as part of probation can seem like a great deal. Here is what you need to know about Muskogee probation violations in Oklahoma.
The Role Of Probation In Plea Bargains, Deferred Sentencing, And Suspended Sentencing
Every person is entitled to a jury trial. But there are times when a trial may not be in a defendant’s best interests.
A plea bargain or plea deal is somewhat like a settlement. A person agrees to a plea of guilty or “no contest” on a lesser crime in exchange for a lighter sentence. As part of that plea deal, often the jail time may be limited to time already served in custody and probation for a period of time.
Deferred and suspended sentencing are often used in conjunction with a plea deal. In a deferred sentence, the defendant will be on probation for a time ordered by the judge.
The judge will also set all the conditions of the probation and the defendant must agree to obey all of those terms. The sentence is “deferred.” At the end of the time, the court enters the plea of “not guilty” and the case is then dismissed.
With a suspended sentence, the court finds the defendant guilty but allows the defendant to continue living and working in the community subject to their probation conditions for the probationary period. The sentence is “suspended.” The down-side to a suspended sentence is that the conviction remains on your criminal record.
The terms of probation can vary for each case but some typical conditions can include:
- regular reporting to a probation officer;
- abstaining from drug and alcohol use;
- obeying all laws;
- no contact with past criminal associates; and
- no possession of firearms.
Whatever the conditions imposed, it is important to obey all terms of probation.
What Happens If You Violate Probation?
Probation violations happen. But the consequences can be harsh.
If the probation violation also violates Oklahoma criminal law, you could face additional criminal charges. In addition, you could lose your probation and be sent to jail or prison to finish out your sentence.
In a deferred sentence probation violation, the district attorney brings a motion to accelerate time to the end of the deferral period. The court then imposes the original sentence for the underlying crime.
The probationer must then go to jail or prison for the entirety of their original sentence. There is no credit for time served while under probation.
With a suspended sentence, the motion is brought to lift the “suspension” and send the defendant back to jail or prison to serve the remainder of their sentence. If granted, the court will give credit for all the time spent under probation.
What Happens At The Probation Violations Hearing?
At the hearing, the judge must determine whether you violated your probation. The prosecutor must prove that the probation terms were violated, but only by a preponderance of the evidence: a showing of 51%.
The judge will also look at the reasons why the violation occurred and any other mitigating factors that may be involved. Factors a judge might consider include the nature, type, and seriousness of the violation claimed as well as any history of prior probation violations and other aggregating or mitigating circumstances.
You have the right to have a Muskogee attorney represent you at the hearing. You may also present witnesses and other evidence in support of your case or to attack the evidence against you.
Having a Muskogee attorney present can help the court understand what happened. Some violations are inadvertent.
Sometimes, the defendant needs more time to pay costs. Other times, a defendant may need addiction treatment. All of these factors can be considered by a judge.
Once all the evidence and arguments are heard, the court may rule immediately. A judge has broad discretion.
The judge may reinstate the probation as it is, may change the terms, may revoke the probation, or impose any other remedy they deem fit. If probation is revoked, a defendant returns to jail or prison for the duration of their sentence.
Free Consultation With A Muskogee Probation Violations Attorney
Don’t try to go this one alone. Help is just a phone call away.
Call 918-913-0725 today for an initial free consultation with a Muskogee probation violations attorney. You can also submit the question form at the top right of this page.