Los Angeles Probation Violation Lawyers
Probation is the release of an offender under strict conditions to minimize incarceration time or avoid it altogether. Probation is an alternative to jail time as a way to rehabilitate offenders facing misdemeanor or felony charges. While under probation, court-mandated terms often include fines, community service, and counseling. Should the offender not meet these terms, a person may face severe consequences from a probation violation. Speaking with an attorney immediately following a probation violation can drastically minimize the repercussions.
At the Law Offices of Hart J. Levin, we know the courts, the judges, and the prosecutors – and more importantly – how to handle each one uniquely. Even if you were accused of violating the terms of your court-ordered agreement, having our valuable experience will be an advantage in winning your case. Our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers have prevented over 800 probation violations from adding additional punishment. Most of our probation violation cases are resolved without any added punishment to our client.
Misdemeanor probation is a less-restrictive alternative to incarceration, usually with fewer requirements to stay in good standing. It is also known as “informal probation,” or “summary probation” according to state Penal Code Section 1203, and is used most commonly in misdemeanors.
Despite the fewer restrictions, you will typically still face court-ordered requirements for a period of between one and five years. If you have committed acts such as driving under the influence, certain drug charges, or some types of physical violence, you may be eligible for misdemeanor probation. During the probation period, even a slight violation such as not submitting a document on time to court, can result in the court seeking significant jail time and other penalties. We specialize in fixing these issues quickly and cost-effectively.
California Felony Probation
California felony probation is a more strict version of probation, which is why in the legal code, it is listed as “formal probation.” Probation is an alternative to state prison but in many cases the judge or prosecutor will seek county jail time as a requirement of probation. County jail time can range from 1 to 365 days. Prison, on the other hand, starts at a minimum of 16 months and can go on literally for life. Probation typically requires that a person have a PO or probation officer, who closely monitors their behavior, employment and drug and alcohol intake. Even a slight violation will cause an automatic probation violation that gets submitted to the court and the judge will have full discretion on how to further punish the probationer, including revoking probation and sending the person to state prison.
Probation carries fees for supervision and other court related costs. This is a tricky situation for people because with a felony conviction, it can be very difficult to find a job, and without a job, they have no ability to pay the required fees.
Without paying the fees, or paying them late, the court will issue a probation violation and possibly an arrest warrant. That is why it is critical to have an expert probation violation attorney work with the court and probation department to prevent them adding severe punishment.
For example, a person placed on probation for a case involving driving under the influence (DUI) must not be stopped while operating a vehicle with any alcohol in their system. The limit for someone on probation is .00%. Anything above that will cause an automatic violation. The average person can abide by a standard of a blood alcohol content level below 0.08%. A person accused of violent crimes may not be allowed to associate with certain family members or friends who have alleged gang ties. In the case of domestic violence, a defendant may be required to adjust their entire lives to comply with restraining orders from a judge properly.
Misdemeanor vs. Felony Probation Explained
Misdemeanor and felony probation are sentencing alternatives that can revolve around the offense the defendant committed. They differ in the number of requirements, interactions with the court system, and years that the defendant will have to comply with the conditions before completion. These are some of the specific differences:
- Duration – Misdemeanor probation usually lasts between one and three years, while felony probation can last up to five years.
- Reporting to Officials – If you are assigned to misdemeanor probation, you will have to infrequently check-in with your sentencing judge to assess your progress. Felony requirements also require monthly check-ins with a probation officer.
- Conditions – Misdemeanor probation usually includes fewer requirements. People in Los Angeles on felony probation may be subject to surprise law enforcement searches and avoid interacting with people who may have gang ties or substance abuse problems.
- Crimes Covered – Misdemeanor probation will often cover less egregious crimes like simple assault, driving under the influence, and other offenses. Felony crimes will require more significant conditions to be met for someone to avoid prison time.
It is the judge’s discretion to suspend a sentence unconditionally or with conditions. An unconditionally suspended sentence implies no penalty. In a conditionally suspended sentence, the judge may hold off on penalties in exchange for good behavior.
Eligibility for Felony Probation Requirements
The legal system is based on the concept that offenders will be rehabilitated or become good standing members of society due to serving either a jail sentence or completing other requirements set by a judge. With over 100 years of combined experience in criminal law, we know the Los Angeles criminal justice system can set you up to fail. Felony probation is alternative sentencing based upon a judge’s assessment and recommendations from the Los Angeles County Probation Department. While the judge has sole discretion, some common factors in play during a probation hearing include:
- your past criminal record, including before you turned 18;
- whether or not the offense involved a weapon, violence, or included sexual violence;
- the likelihood that you will complete the terms of your probation;
- whether or not a lengthy prison sentence will negatively impact your family; or
- the odds that you will be able to make restitution to the victim.
In a probation hearing, we use our long-standing relationships with LA judges and prosecutors to resolve the case in the best possible way – typically preventing any additional punishment.
Common Probation Conditions in Los Angeles
The conditions you must meet to remain eligible to continue your probation are unique to your case. These conditions may include:
- seeking and maintaining full-time employment;
- passing drug tests that demonstrate you have not been using intoxicating substances;
- avoiding committing new crimes; or
- performing community service and paying any restitution to any victims.
Often, a judge may require customized tasks for someone on probation, as it is entirely up to their discretion. We have even had judges offer probation on the condition that a gang member have their gang tattoos removed and write an essay about their plans for the future. We come up with creative solutions to prevent you from going back to jail or prison so you can go on living your life.
Probation Violation Hearing
As former prosecutors, we have worked on the opposite side of the courtroom. During your probation violation hearing, the prosecutor must prove you violated the terms of your probation by clear and convincing evidence. The judge must believe that there is a “preponderance of evidence” indicating that you may have committed a new crime, failed to check in with your probation officer, or any of the other conditions of your probation.
The Law Offices of Hart J. Levin will help you protect your rights and your freedom, enabling you to have:
- access to our team’s private investigators for an in-depth defense;
- the chance to testify or call other witnesses on your behalf that prove you were not in violation of the terms of your probation;
- the opportunity to see all evidence to be used by the prosecutor against you before the hearing; and
- the right to explain any extenuating circumstances that may have affected your ability to maintain those conditions.
The ultimate decision is up to a judge, who will decide whether you are required to serve jail time to complete your original sentence for the crime or if you will be able to continue probation under the same terms or with additional ones to meet.
Contact Our Los Angeles Probation Violation Attorneys Today
At the Law Offices of Hart J. Levin, we understand that it can be frightening to face jail or prison time. Our Los Angeles probation violation lawyers include former deputy district attorneys who understand the strategies that prosecutors use and what factors are most likely to influence a judge’s decision during a hearing. Fill out the simple form or call our office number, (310) 935-3100, for a free consultation at any time.
Probation Violation Attorneys in Los Angeles, CA
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