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8 Things to Know About Probation Violations in Colorado

If you’ve been charged with a probation violation in Coloradoknow a loved one who has been charged, or want to avoid a probation violation, this article is for you. The United States has one of the largest correctional populations in the world. Probation allows individuals who are convicted of a crime to remain in the community, rather than be locked up in prison. But probation also involves certain risks. If you fail to comply with your terms of probation, your probation can be revoked and you can end up in prison.

If being convicted of a crime wasn’t a serious enough problem, a motion to revoke probation can cause even more life-changing issues. If the motion to revoke is proven, the Judge can sentence you to confinement, fines and other penalties. Furthermore, if the probation revocation is for a felony offence, you may be looking at a prison sentence if the motion is proven. If you are facing a motion to revoke probation, you need an experienced and strategic criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. As an experienced attorney in Fort Collins, I’m here to listen, understand how you got in this position and be your advocate in assisting you overcome this hurdle.

Conditions of Probation

The only way to avoid violating probation is to first understand its conditions. The terms of probation vary widely from state to state and often include both broad and specific guidelines. In Colorado, the conditions of a specific individual’s probation are determined by a judge at sentencing. Depending on the individual’s specific needs, the terms of their probation might include specific requirements such as completing drug and alcohol classes, attending mental health counseling, performing useful public service, and paying restitution to a victim. The specific terms and conditions of probation will be detailed in a written agreement, that will be signed by the probationer.

Types of Probation Violations in Colorado

In general, there are two types of probation violations: rule violations and new law violations.

A rule violation in Colorado is a violation of one or more of the terms set forth in your probation agreement. This could include testing positive for drugs, failing to show up to a scheduled meeting with your probation officer, or violating any other term of your agreement.

By contrast, a law violation occurs when a probationer commits a new crime after being placed on probation. This includes any crimes, whether felony, misdemeanor or major traffic offense such as a DUI.

DUI law

What Happens if I Violate the Terms of My Probation?

If the violation is a minor rule violation, your probation officer may give you a warning and give you another chance to make appropriate changes. However, the probation officer has the discretion to file a motion to revoke your probation and bring your case back to court. The probation officer will often contact the district attorney’s office for their position on how to proceed. A summons can be issued, requiring you to appear in court at a specific date and time. Worst case scenario: a warrant can be issued for your arrest, requiring you to be held in custody until a bond is posted.

Appearance on Motion to Revoke

At the first hearing, the Court will advise you of the allegations contained in the motion to revoke your probation. You are entitled to have an attorney, and if you cannot afford an attorney and qualify, you will be appointed a public defender. If you are in custody, you have the right to request a hearing to be held within 14 days. Often the matter is set for a possible disposition hearing to allow the defendant to find legal counsel and prepare a defense to the allegations.

What Happens Next?

Oftentimes an agreement can be negotiated with the district attorney’s office on how to resolve the motion to revoke probation. Depending on the underlying circumstances for the motion, at times an individual’s probation can be revoked and reinstated with additional terms and conditions. This could include more useful public service, additional classes, or even jail time. The court can impose up to 60 days of jail on a misdemeanor and 90 days of jail on a felony.

Lawyer for Probation Violation in Fort Collins

Serious Allegations

If the allegations in the motion are serious, or there has been prior requests to revoke probation, the district attorney may be looking at other sentencing options, rather than a reinstatement to probation. In these situations, a presentence report will often be ordered, providing written feedback from your probation officer. Other screenings such as a Community Corrections screening, for placement at the halfway house, are ordered. Now your attorney is trying to convince the judge why a community sentence is still appropriate over prison time. Though the district attorney may be pushing for prison, it is still up to the judge as to the type of sentence.

Motion Hearing

If the matter cannot be resolved, then there is a hearing on the motion. The hearing is held in front of a judge, not a jury. The district attorney has the burden of proving that you violated your probation. If the allegation is a rule violation, the burden of proof is “a preponderance of evidence.” If the allegation is a law violation, the burden of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Knowing Your Rights

It’s important for probationers to know their rights when charged with a probation violation in Colorado. This is the best way to successfully complete your sentence and comply with your probation terms and conditions.

If you have more questions, or you need representation regarding a probation violation in Colorado, contact us. We are dedicated to working with you to help you move past your legal troubles.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a probation violation attorney help if I've committed a new crime while on probation?

Committing a new crime while on probation complicates your situation significantly. However, with the right legal assistance from a skilled probation violation attorney, it's possible to navigate these challenges. Our team works tirelessly to present your case in the best light, aiming for outcomes such as reinstated probation with adjusted terms, when feasible.

What are my rights if my probation is at risk of being revoked in Fort Collins?

Knowing your rights is paramount if you're facing the risk of probation revocation in Fort Collins. You're entitled to legal representation, and if necessary, our attorneys can help you understand these rights, represent you in court, and argue for the best possible resolution, whether that's modifying the probation terms or other alternatives to revocation.

I need assistance with a probation violation issue in Fort Collins, how can I get help?

If you're dealing with a probation violation in Fort Collins, timely, expert advice can make a significant difference. Reach out to us for a consultation where we can discuss your situation in detail and explore the best path forward to address the probation violation, ensuring your side is heard and defended effectively.

Additional Information in Fort Collins, Colorado

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