Unfortunately, even after paying your dues in the eyes of the court, you may still be placed on probation for a crime once committed. In some cases, probation is an incredibly restrictive situation to find yourself in, and one that can be confusing and frustrating all at once. However, it is exponentially better than going to prison or jail.
If you’re having issues keeping with or understanding your probationary terms, the best thing that you can do is to set up a consultation with a knowledgeable Denver probation violation attorney. They will be able to enlighten you a little bit about probation in general, as well as what happens if you violate your probation.
Types of Probation Programs
In Denver alone, there are more than five separate programs catered to probation and the various probationers under the care of the City and County. For example, if you’re charged with domestic abuse, you would be subject to the probation officers in the Domestic Violence Supervision section.
The idea is that the entire program knows the probationers and can provide the proper supervision and support for them. Additionally, it also makes the entire department accountable for probationers’ actions.
There are other departments as well, such as the Female Offender Supervision sector, which focuses on high risk and severely substance-addicted women. This group works with these “high re-offending” women, and works towards sobriety and keeping them out of trouble with their probation terms in order to avoid a jail sentence. There is also a mental health section, which consists of mental health professionals and trained probation officers who can work with this specific population and try to keep them out of prison.
Those convicted of crimes involving money will likely find themselves subject to the Economic Crime Supervision sector, and the Family Supervision department deals with those on probation for domestic crimes. These both provide probation officers and support that are catered to their specific infractions. The Drug Court also caters specifically to probation related to repeat drug offenders who are also substance abusers. This is partly why probation is so diversified in Denver; each crime earns a different punishment.
Ways to Break Probation
There are plenty of ways to break your probation in Colorado, which makes it highly frustrating for anyone who has to be under it.
Failure to report to your check-in meeting with your probation officer. This is the biggest reason people violate probation, and it is often intentional. If you’re on probation, do not miss a meeting with your PO unless absolutely necessary, and if it is necessary, inform your PO as soon as possible.
Failing to pass a drug test. The second most common way to break probation. For most probation, a strict no drugs or alcohol rule is in place, followed up by random and required drug testing. If you refuse to test, or are found to have drugs in your system, you will be reported and will have to face the music in a probation hearing.
Purchasing, using, or being in possession of a weapon. Another big mistake made by probationers. If you’re on probation, you’re not allowed to be in contact with firearms, much less buy one.
There are a few other ways to break probation that are obviously catered to your specific charges and what the judge ordered for you. In some cases, staying away from certain people or places, engaging in community service or reporting for therapy/treatment, or even attending work may all be clauses to maintaining your probation.
Essentially, make sure you understand the rules of your probation, and attempt to stay the course as much as possible. If you find yourself in a probation violation situation, you need to hire an experienced probation violation attorney that can help.
If you, for any reason, fail to meet the standards of your probation, your probation officer must then report you to the court to face consequences. If a judge rules that your behavior was severe enough, he or she may remove your probation and place you in jail under your original sentence. In really severe infractions, there may even be time added to your stay due to your behavior.
Sometimes, the judge will just extend your probation. In other cases, you may be sent to community service, be required to enter a drug treatment facility, or be assigned a counselor or social worker. You will also have to pay any fines and court fees accrued during your probation hearing. Clearly, none of these outcomes is desirable, so it’s best to avoid probation infractions.
The best thing to do if you’ve been accused of violating your probation or believe that you may have violated it is to speak with a legal professional who specializes in this area. With their help, you may be able to reduce the consequences you face or even avoid them entirely.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012 and 2013 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.