At the sentencing hearing following a guilty plea, trial, or jury conviction, a convicted offender may have an executed sentence, a suspended sentence (a period of jail time that does not have to be served, usually contingent upon the plea) or a sentence of probation. An “executed sentence” is one that is actually served in a correctional facility, or other alternative correctional program, such as work release (Brown v. State, 2008).
The reason for probation is so the convicted offender has a period of supervision by the State through its probation officers to ensure that he or she is rehabilitated and/or does not continue to commit crimes. An offender may be placed on probation instead of serving all or part of a jail or prison sentence. The goal of probation is not just to punish someone who has committed a crime, but rather to rehabilitate him or her so that there is no future criminal activity. Rehabilitation benefits the State and its citizens and is a part of the express purpose of criminal law.
The terms of probation are set by the sentencing judge and also deferred by the court to some extent. Some typical restrictions on freedoms under a probation order may be that you must refrain from possessing firearms, not use illegal drugs, meet with your probation officer in person from time to time, remain employed, live in a specific place, obey orders of the probation officer, abide by a curfew, stay away from the victims (or persons similarly situated, for example children if the crime involved a child), and stay away from co-defendants or other known criminals.
Probation is by the grace of the court.
When a probation violation occurs, probation officers have some discretion to determine an appropriate punishment or consequence. If the violation is minor, you may receive a warning, be required to attend more meetings or check-ins with your probation officer, or be given some additional restrictions on probation. However, if the violation is more severe, or repetitive, a probation officer may refer it to the judge by filing a Violation of Probation (“VOP”) and asking for a hearing in order to issue a proper punishment for the violation, which could include revoking probation and ordering you to jail for a time or duration of the sentence.
A judge may only revoke your probation and send you to jail if probation proves that you, in fact, violated probation. However, and again, there is a lower civil burden of proof applied to a VOP hearings and revocation proceedings. An Indianapolis probation violation attorney can help you fight your VOP allegations, assert your rights, and avoid the consequences of a probation violation. Indianapolis probation violation lawyers can proactively defend you, determine if a probation violation exists, negotiate any recommendations between the prosecutor and probation officer, and guide you through a court hearing to obtain the best possible outcome and avoid hopefully avoid jail time.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are alleged to have violated a term of your probation, and you are facing potential jail time by revocation at a VOP hearing, an Indiana probation violation lawyer can help if you defend your position and mitigate the probability that probation may be revoked at a VOP hearing by helping you determine the proper course. Revocation of probation is at lower civil burden of proof.
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