If you are convicted of a criminal or traffic offense, you will very likely be placed on a period of probation. The length and conditions of probation are to be determined by the judge imposing the sentence. If you are sentenced in District Court, the maximum probationary period is three years. If you are sentenced in Circuit Court, the maximum length of probation is five years.
If you fail to comply with all of the terms of your probation, the judge will be notified and he or she will either issue a warrant for your arrest or a summons ordering you appear to court. If you discover that a judge has issued a warrant for your arrest, call Colleen Kirby immediately. She can file a motion with the court asking that the judge consider quashing, or recalling the warrant, and instead issuing a paper summons ordering you to appear.
At the violation of probation hearing, the state bears the burden of proving that you did, in fact, violate your probation. You will commonly hear this referred to as a VOP hearing. A violation of probation hearing is much different than a criminal trial. While the procedure is much the same, the burden of proof is much lower. In a criminal trial, the state must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. At a violation of probation hearing, the state merely has to prove that you failed to comply with one or more conditions of your probation by a preponderance of the evidence. That means that the state must prove that it was more likely than not that you violated your probation.
Probation violations are to be taken very serious and often are associated with the harshest penalties. In almost every case, if you are found to have violated a judge’s probation, you will be sentenced to a period of incarceration. The reason for such a harsh penalty is that when you are placed on probation in lieu of incarceration at your original sentencing, or released from incarceration with the condition of probation, the judge is essentially giving you the opportunity to prove yourself worthy of your freedom.
Therefore, it is extremely important that you contact Colleen Kirby immediately if you find yourself facing an allegation that you have violated your probation. Not only can she reduce the stress associated with this by making the process run smoother, but she can aggressively represent you at the hearing to ensure your liberties.