Probation Revocations in Colorado
If you have violated any terms of a sentence to probation, a probation officer can petition the court to have your probation revoked. At that point the DA and the court get involved, and the court can sentence you to jail, up to the maximum amounts that the underlying crime normally carries.
Your probation can be revoked for the smallest violation, and violations are common because probation can be so burdensome. Some probation officers will revoke you for the slightest mistake if they don’t think you are sincere in your efforts to succeed on probation. It can be very scary, because a probation officer has so much power over a person. If you have made a mistake on probation, it is worth your time to calmly and clearly tell the probation officer about your plans to prevent future mistakes.
Once the probation officer has petitioned to revoke your probation, the judge becomes the most important person in your life, but the judge is going to learn all about you from the probation officer and the deputy district attorney, who will often see eye to eye. A lawyer on your side can slow down this process, defend your rights, and make sure you are treated fairly. A lawyer tells your story and becomes your shield against an aggressive prosecution of a probation revocation.
Probation Violations– How a Criminal Lawyer Helps
A seasoned criminal lawyer can help you navigate the system and get a better result. It is not easy to completely defeat probation revocations– the slightest violation will do (a missed meeting, say), and the DA only has to prove the violation by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not, you missed the meeting…). However, there is vast range of outcomes in a probation revocation. At the worst end, you can be sentenced to the maximum amount of jail that could have originally been imposed when you were convicted of the crime. This happens most often when the court does not believe you are taking probation seriously. At the best end of outcomes, your lawyer could negotiate a withdrawal of the probation revocation action.
Because the range of outcomes is so vast, it is critical to get help from someone with experience in the system. A criminal lawyer can help defend your rights and limit any sentence you receive from the revocation. A lawyer can even help customize the sentence: if you want reinstatement to probation, a lawyer can work on that. If you want to be done with probation, and are willing to do a short jail sentence instead, a lawyer can negotiate that result. If you believe you’ve completed the bulk of your requirements on probation, a lawyer may be able to convince the judge that your probation should simply be terminated with no jail. The key is to be able to investigate your situation and explain it to the court in a way that puts you in the best light. And it is imperative that your lawyer understand the full range of sentencing options the court has, and the various rules for when and how they can be used.
Note: if your probation is being revoked due to a new criminal charge, a lawyer is absolutely essential. There are many traps and pitfalls when dealing with a probation violation and a new case at the same time, and also many opportunities to creatively resolve the two cases.