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Minnesota Probation Violation Lawyers
If your sentence is not executed, the Court may impose any number of “intermediate sanctions“. These are your terms of probation and will be in place throughout the duration of your probationary period, unless otherwise specified by the Court. Failure to abide by these terms of probation will most likely result in a probation violation proceeding.
Probation Violation Proceedings
A probation violation proceeding starts with the issuance of a summons or warrant after a review of a written report showing probable cause that a probation violation has occurred. A summons is typically the mechanism used, unless the Court has reason to believe a warrant is necessary to secure the probationers appearance. The summons or warrant must contain the following information:
- The name of the probationer;
- A description of the sentence and the probationary terms allegedly violated;
- The Judge’s signature;
- A factual statement supporting probable cause to believe the probationer violated the terms of probation;
- The amount of bail or other conditions of release the court may set on the warrant;
- For a warrant – an order directing that the probationer be brought before the court promptly, and in any event not later than 36 hours after arrest, not including the day of arrest;
- For a summons – an order directing the probationer to appear at a specific date, time, and place.
Probation Admit/Deny Hearing
The first appearance – the date specified in the summons – is commonly referred to as an “Admit/Deny” hearing because the probationer will either admit or deny to the alleged probation violation. Before making this decision, the probationer must be advised by the Court of the their right to the following:
- A Minnesota probation violations attorney;
- A hearing on the merits of the alleged probation violation where the probationer may subpoena and call witnesses, present evidence, and generally present their argument;
- Disclosure of all evidence used by the State against them;
- Present mitigating evidence or other reasons why the violation, if proved, should not result in revocation of probation; and
- Appeal any decision to revoke probation.
If the probationer admits the violation, the Court will impose penalties it deems appropriate. If the probationer denies the violation, a probation revocation hearing is scheduled “within a reasonable time” or within 7 days if the probationer is in custody. The Court has the authority to impose conditions of release pending this probation revocation hearing.
Probation Revocation Hearing
Like the initial Admit/Deny hearing, the probationer will be advised of the rights described above. In anticipating what to expect, there are two key distinctions from a probation revocation hearing and a criminal trial. First, the State’s burden of proof is less. The State needs to only show by “clear and convincing evidence” that the probationer committed the violation. This is an easier standard to meet than the high standard of “beyond reasonable doubt” for the criminal trial. Second, the rules of evidence do not apply in a probation revocation hearing, meaning that evidence that typically would not be admissible in a trial is now admissible. These two key distinctions make the States job easier.
State Must Prove the Following
In order for the Court to find the probationer committed the alleged probation violation, the State must prove the following:
- A specific condition or term of probation was violated;
- The violation was intentional or inexcusable; and
- If the court finds a violation occurred, then it must be demonstrated that the need for confinement outweighs the policies favoring probation.
In making its decision on the third element, the Court will look at the facts of the underlying criminal offense and the probationers intervening conduct. This is where the probationer has an opportunity to present mitigating evidence to avoid the Court revoking probation. Such things as prompt and continual compliance with the rest of the terms of probation, continual contact with the probation officer, accepting responsibility for the violation, and any volunteer, or treatment or programming completed subsequent to the violation may demonstrate to the judge that the probation violation is not indicative of a greater problem and that continued probation is appropriate.
Probation Violation Penalties or Sanctions
If the Court finds that the probationer violated the terms of probation, it has great discretion as far as what kind of penalties or sanctions it may impose. These penalties could include a revocation of the stayed sentence – meaning jail or prison time – an extension of the probationary period, imposing additional fines and community work service, and chemical use or alcohol testing or programming.
If you find yourself faced with an alleged probation violation, it is imperative to contact a Minnesota probation violation attorney immediately to get started on working on your behalf. A skilled probation violation attorney can help negotiate an appropriate and positive resolution, and help build your defense or case, depending on the circumstances. Contact North Star Criminal Defense today.