Prosecutors, probation officers, and judges take probation violation cases very seriously. A probation violation allegation can result in revocation, conviction, jail time, and a permanent criminal record. If you or your loved one is facing a probation violation allegation in Dallas, you need an experienced probation violation lawyer. Dallas probation violation attorney Mike Howard will fight for you and help you understand the case against you, your options, and the possible outcomes.
Community supervision is the technical term for probation. It consists of both “regular” probation and deferred adjudication probation. The length and conditions of probation are set by the judge at the time of sentencing. Your probation officer can send your file to court if they allege that you violated your conditions. In “regular” probation, the prosecutor may then file a motion to revoke probation. In deferred probation, the prosecutor may then file a motion to proceed with adjudication.
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Types of Probation Violations
Probation violations can either be technical or substantive. A technical violation is generally a failure to follow the conditions of probation to the exact letter (not completing a class or program within the allotted time, being behind on fees or fines, or even using illegal drugs while on probation. A substantive violation generally involves allegedly committing a new criminal offense while on probation.
It is important to know that you do not have a right to a jury trial for a probation violation. However, you do have a right to a contested hearing. This requires the prosecutor to prove that you violated probation. The standard of proof is by a preponderance of the evidence. It’s important to know that a preponderance of the evidence is a much lower standard than beyond a reasonable doubt.
Probation Violation Penalties
If you are on “regular” probation, then the maximum jail or prison sentence you can get if revoked is capped by the original sentence. For example, if you were sentenced to 5 years in prison, probated for 3 years, the maximum length of time you can be imprisoned for a probation violation is the original 5-year sentence). However, if you are on deferred probation, there is no cap to a probation violation sentence. Consequently, you can be sentenced to anything within the entire punishment range for your offense.
Defending Probation Violation Charges in Dallas
Because preponderance of the evidence is a much lower burden of proof for the prosecution, sometimes a contested hearing isn’t the right way to go. Perhaps the best option is to work something out without the need of a hearing at all. This would be like getting a prosecutor to dismiss the case or offer some reduction short of having to go to trial.
Another possible option is an open revocation hearing. This is where you agree that you did violate probation, but you’re not agreeing to the prosecutor’s offer. In an open revocation, you ask the judge to decide what to do. You might be asking for probation to be continued, modified, or revoked for less punishment than the prosecutor is seeking.
Finally, a contested revocation hearing is where you force the prosecutor to prove to the judge that you violated probation. While the burden of proof is lower than in a trial, you still have the right to cross-examine witnesses, call your own witnesses, and testify or remain silent.
Choosing the Right Probation Violation Lawyer in Dallas
Searching for probation violation lawyers in Dallas can be overwhelming. After all, you are choosing someone who will hold your life, your future, and your family’s future in their hands. You have to be comfortable with them and feel that you can trust the information and advice they give you. Lawyers are supposed to always work in their client’s best interests. That shouldn’t just be meaningless talk.
First, talk to several lawyers to get a feel for them and their staff. Do they take the time necessary to get to know you, to listen to what’s important to you, and answer your questions? Second, do they show you that you matter to them as a person and not just as a fee? Third, beware of lawyers who put the hard sell on you, who make big promises. No lawyer should ever make a guarantee about a case. Finally, absolutely avoid a lawyer who doesn’t communicate the scope of the work and their fee clearly in a written contract.
What Makes Mike Howard Different
Many attorneys take advantage of their client’s ignorance of the criminal justice process. We take the opposite approach. A knowledgeable client is a happy client. Therefore, we provide a wealth of information in the way of articles about criminal offenses, blog posts, and videos for free on our website.
Dallas Probation Violation Attorney Mike Howard
Above all, I strive to help my clients through difficult times with compassion and integrity. In Dallas, innocent people can get accused, charged, and convicted when they don’t have a Dallas probation attorney fighting for them. I believe in standing up for people facing criminal accusations and helping them navigate all that comes with being thrown into the criminal justice system.
The cornerstone of my law practice is focusing on my clients as individuals. I start by taking the time to understand not just the facts of their case but who they are and what they need. Because I know the criminal justice system can be intimidating, I explain the process, their rights, and their options. Client communication is extremely important to me, so I make sure my team and I do everything possible to quickly answer questions and return messages.
Willing to Fight
Most importantly, I am willing to fight a case in court. I have a track record of delivering fantastic results at trial. While not every client and case needs to go to trial, it can make a difference. When your Dallas probation violation attorney has a reputation as a skillful trial lawyer who fights for their clients, however, it makes all the difference in the world.
Our Case Process
Listen & Understand
We focus on clients as real people. First, we list to understand who you are and what you need. Then we make sure we fully understand the facts of the case.
We explain the law, your rights, and the legal process. Because communication is very important to us, we strive to quickly answer questions and return communication.
Fight for Justice
Simply put: we fight hard for you. In the courtroom, in negotiations, and before a case even is officially opened, we fight for justice for you.
A Proven Track Record
Dallas Probation Violation Lawyer
J.C. – Sexual Assault of a Child
Our client’s probation officer twice filed motions to revoke on him. Twice we convinced the judge to deny those motions. Our client was able to finish his probation and avoid a conviction instead of being revoked and branded as a convicted felon for life.
N.R. – Possession of a Controlled Substance Intent to Deliver
Our client had a drug problem and relapsed. His probation officer tried to send him to prison, but instead, we got him drug treatment so he could turn his life around.
R.L. – Three Drug Cases and Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle
This client’s addiction was also his biggest demon. We got his motion to revoke denied and got him drug treatment.
D.V. – Unlawful Restraint
Our client finished all his conditions early. His probation officer still refused to approve his request to get released from probation early. We convinced the judge to release him early.