Maine Probation Attorney
Serving the Portland, Bangor, Biddeford, Saco and Augusta Regions
Understanding the Terms of Probation
Someone who has been put on probation is required to follow a strict set of guidelines set out by the court for a designated period of time. They might have found themselves under probation if they were sentenced to time in jail and are serving the rest of their sentence under probation, or if they agreed to probation in place of going to jail, but usually only if they had committed a misdemeanor offense. Likely, the court will require an individual to abide by a curfew, follow the instruction of a probation officer and/or frequently check in with them, refrain from leaving the jurisdiction, maintain employment, and refrain from committing any further crimes.
The terms of an individual's probation are legally binding, so if violated, they may find themselves facing additional penalties. The terms of one's probation are often specific to their offense. For example, if someone was convicted of a DUI or an OUI, that person may be prohibited from drinking and/or possessing alcohol while under probation, as well as be required to adhere to regular alcohol/drug testing. A person may also be found in violation of their probation if they:
- Fail to appear in court
- Fail to complete a required course/treatment program
- Fail to report to a probation officer
- Commit an additional crime
- Failing to complete community service
- Fail to maintain employment
A person can also be found guilty of a probation violation if he/she commits another offense. Maine code §1206 states:
If a person on probation is convicted of a new crime during the period of probation, the court may sentence that person for the crime and revoke probation. If the person has been sentenced for the new crime and probation revocation proceedings are subsequently commenced, the court that conducts the revocation hearing may revoke probation.
Probation Violation Lawyer in Maine
A violation will begin in one of two ways. The offender is arrested for a new crime or their probation officer reports a violation. Officers do not have a set practice for reporting violators so they may either issue a warning or inform the accused violator that they will need to appear in court. At the court appearance, the probation officer will make a recommendation for a punishment for the offender. Punishments as well as whether they are only issued a warning are based on the violation as well as criminal history. If the offender has previously violated the terms of probation, they are more likely to not receive a warning.
When a person is accused of violating the terms of his/her probation, he/she will have to attend a probation hearing to determine the consequences of their behavior. If someone was out on parole, they may find themselves back in jail. Other penalties may include an extended probationary period, paying fines and restitution, and/or attending required counseling. It will be up to the judge to decide if the actions constituted a violation of probation and, if so, what the penalties will be. Consequences of a violation will depend on the seriousness of the original crime as well as the offense that lead to the violation itself.
The person accused of violating their probation will have a chance to defend themselves in a probation hearing, however. Maine Code §1206 states that at a probation hearing
The person on probation must be afforded the opportunity to confront and cross-examine witnesses against the person, to present evidence on that person's own behalf and to be represented by counsel (Maine.gov).
This means that a person will have a fair chance to defend themselves against unwarranted punishment, and it is highly advisable to seek competent legal representation during that time. A Biddeford defense lawyer will be able to argue on behalf of the offender's innocence.
Maine Probation Hearing Attorney
A probation violation is a serious matter. It does not matter what your original crime was, a violation of your probation agreement can mean jail time and more. The best way to deal with a probation violation charge is to hire a defense attorney. Only an experienced attorney can advise you on the best way to handle your charges. Every situation is different so there is no way to know exactly what your penalties will be. Call our firm right now to find out more about how our Maine probation violation lawyers can help you.