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Nashville Probation Violation Attorney
What is a probation violation?
Probation in Tennessee is a type of community supervision, as an alternative to imprisonment, requiring contact with parole or probation officers, and other terms as determined by the court. If you are accused of violating the terms of your probation, the court may place your sentence into effect, or modify or continue the terms of your probation as the court determines necessary.
Probation violation consequences can be serious, and can frequently include arrest, no right to bond upon arrest, the addition of subsequent charges, a guilty conviction for the original offense, and/or imposition of the original sentence as a jail or prison sentence. To protect yourself against allegations of violating your probation, contact Andrew C. Beasley, PLLC. It is imperative to hire an attorney who can protect your interests, and help you avoid the most severe consequences; the experience and knowledge of Andrew C. Beasley can be beneficial to your case.
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Understanding the Terms of Probation
If your probation officer has any reasonable grounds to believe you violated your probation requirements in any material way, any law enforcement officer may then arrest you, or the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest. The terms of your probation may require you to do the following:
- Report to probation and parole supervisors as directed
- Permit the probation/parole supervisors to visit your home for observation
- Find and work at suitable employment
- Remain within a specified county, city or state
- Pay restitution
- Support any legal dependents
- Pay any fees
- Submit to random drug or alcohol testing
- Perform public service or community service
You may also be required to refrain or be prohibited from doing the following:
- Violating any other laws while on probation
- Associating with any other persons involved with criminal activities
- Carrying a firearm or weapon
- Visiting a place where alcohol or controlled substances are sold
Failure to follow any of the items listed can be a probation violation, and can lead to severe consequences. After your arrest for a probation violation, you will be permitted a hearing. However, the warrant for your arrest for a felony probation violation will typically state no bond is permitted, so you may be held for weeks or even months in jail until your hearing is set.
Probation Hearing Proceedings
Once your hearing is set upon a probation violation, a sentencing judge will hear your case and determine if you did in fact violate any of the terms or conditions. You are not entitled to a jury in a probation violation hearing. Not only can probation violation allegations from witnesses be used against you, but you can be forced to testify against yourself.
Also, in a probation hearing, the prosecuting attorney only needs to prove a violation occurred by preponderance of the evidence, which means it was more likely you violated probation than you did not. The typical evidentiary standard in criminal cases is beyond a reasonable doubt. Usually, it is much easier for prosecutors to win a violation of probation hearing than it is to win a new criminal case.
Defenses to a Probation Violation
There are ways to reduce the severity of your probation violation, as the judge will look at several factors in determining punishment for violating probation. For example, the judge will look at if you are a first-time probation offender, if you made reasonable efforts to comply with the terms of your probation, and whether you intentionally violated the terms of your probation. Defenses to a probation violation can include you were innocent and did not violate probation, or there is insufficient evidence to show you violated parole.