If you have been charged with a probation violation in Rhode Island, this represents a serious problem. Indeed, the violation of probation could result in the original penalties for the crime of which you were convicted being imposed, as well as the assessment of new charges. At the Law Office of Jay Bianco, our attorney has a proven track record of defending clients against probation offense violation accusations, and can help you if you have a pending probation violation case. Please call our law firm today to schedule a consultation and learn more about your options.
What Is Probation?
As defined by the State of Rhode Island Department of Corrections , probation is an alternative to prison that is available as a sentencing option. Probation may be offered in place of prison, or as part of a reduced prison sentence.
Parole and probation differ in that while both are conditions that constitute community supervision, the former results in close supervision from a parole officer. What’s more, parole is only granted after a person has served part of their prison sentence; probation, on the other hand, may be offered in place of prison.
What Are the Provisions of a Probationary Period?
There are numerous conditions of a probationary period and probation supervision. There are a number of general requirements that everyone who is placed on probation must follow, including:
- Reporting to the probation officer on a regular basis (the specific reporting requirements will be assigned on a case-by-case basis).
- Refraining from participating in any criminal activities.
- Staying within a certain mile radius unless otherwise approved by one’s probation officer.
- Providing one’s probation officer with any change of address information immediately and more.
In addition to the general requirements, there may also be additional specific requirements of probation that are assessed on an individual basis. For example, some people who are on probation may have protection orders/restraining orders issued against them which they are obligated to follow, may be required to attend alcohol or drug or mental health counseling, and more. If you are placed on probation, it is very important that you understand the conditions of your probation and the things that you are required to do to maintain good standing, as well as the things that you are barred from doing and that may constitute a violation of your probation.
Violating one’s terms of probation can have serious consequences. Probation violations are classified in two ways:
- Technical violations. A technical probation violation means that you have breached one of the conditions of your violation, such as changing your address and not updating your probation officer, or failing to attend your alcohol and drug rehabilitation classes.
- New criminal violations. The second type of probation violation occurs when a person on probation commits a new crime. Typically, new criminal violations are more harshly penalized than are technical violations, particularly because the accused will face charges for a new crime, as well as any penalties associated with a conviction. However, technical violations can be harshly penalized, too.
Penalties for a Probation Violation
You can face a variety of consequences for a probation violation depending on the details of the offense. If your probation officer believes that you have violated the terms of your probation, they will maintain the right to file a violation of probation with the court. The judge assigned to your case will then review the details of your case, and you will attend a probation violation hearing (at which there is no jury). The burden of proof in a probation violation case is not ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’, as it is in standard criminal cases; instead, you can be found guilty by a preponderance of the evidence, which essentially means that it is more likely than not that you violated the probation.
If you are found guilty of a probation violation, the penalties that you will face depends on the crime of which you were originally convicted and the details of your violation. Depending on the details, you may have to serve a prison sentence, the length of your probation may be extended, or additional terms may be added to the conditions of your current probation. Keep in mind that if you are facing new criminal charges, you will have an opportunity to defend yourself against charges. If you are convicted, though, you will be subject to any penalties associated with that crime, and being offered probation may no longer be an option.
If you are accused of violating your probation, you have a right to legal counsel, and to defend yourself against the accusation. Whether or not you have a viable defense will depend on a number of factors, but our criminal defense can help you to understand your options and develop the defense that is appropriate for your case. Defenses to probation might include having good reason or a valid excuse for violating your probation – for example, suffering an injury that resulted in going to the hospital at the same time that you were supposed to meet with your probation officer, making a good faith effort to maintain the conditions of your probation (i.e. working and allocating the majority of your income to fines and fees from your criminal case, yet missing a payment despite best efforts), and maintaining a track record of good behavior – if you are in violation of a condition of probation but can show the court that overall you have maintained good behavior, the judge may be more forgiving.
Violating the terms of one’s probation can result in serious consequences. If you have been accused of violating your probation, reach out to the Law Office of Jay Bianco for the counsel and representation you deserve. Our lawyer is passionate about defending you against charges and protecting your best interests. Call today or send us a message directly to schedule your consultation.