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Violation of Probation

Many individuals who have been convicted of a crime are placed on probation as part of their sentence.  Probation is a form of government supervision where either the County or the State supervises a person for a period of time to insure that the individual completes their sentence and does not commit any new crimes.  If a person fails to complete all of the terms of their sentence, or does commit a new crime, they will be charged with a Violation of Probation, or VOP.  

When facing a Violation of Probation is issued, the accused should understand the process.  First, unlike other crimes charges, in a VOP, the accused is not entitled to a bond.  Therefore, an individual charged with a VOP could spend months in jail if their case is not resolved quickly.  Second, in a VOP hearing, the person's guilt or innocence will be determined by a judge, not by a jury.  Third, in a VOP hearing, the State Attorney must prove guilt to a level of "the conscience of the court," which is a lesser standard than "beyond a reasonable doubt."  Finally, in a VOP, the accused can be called by the State to testify against themself and have no right to remain silent.

What is often difficult for people facing a VOP to accept is that if they are found guilty of the VOP, they may face the maximum penalty from the original charge even if their VOP was minor in nature.  For instance, a person who possessed a small amount of pot may have been sentenced to six months of probation, but if that probation is violated for simply missing an appointment with a probation officer, that person may go to jail for a year!

If you or a loved one is facing a VOP charge, please contact the Consalo Law Firm for a consultation.  As your attorney, Marc Consalo will do an immediate visit with yourself or your loved one at the jail to develop a strategy to best protect your rights and limit the time of incarceration.



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