When a defendant pleads guilty to a criminal offense after entering into the agreement with the state, and after the agreement is approved by the court, to spend some amount of time on probation, the defendant essentially enters into a contract with the court to comply with specific requirements/conditions during the course of a probationary period. Oftentimes, the conditions may include reporting to the probation office, paying a fine, performing community service and paying restitution. However, this is a very limited list of conditions and courts are permitted to impose any requirement, as a condition of probation, that is reasonably related to a criminal conviction.
What happens when a person is accused of failing to comply with a condition
of probation? For example, what if a person is arrested for a new criminal
offense or fails to report to the probation officer when scheduled? What
happens if a person fails a drug screen while on probation?
Tennessee judges have authority to sign a warrant for the arrest of a
defendant if the defendant is on probation and is accused of violating
a condition of probation. Oftentimes, this occurs when a probation officer
identifies a violation and reports the violation to the court. After a
warrant is issued for a violation of probation (sometimes referred to
as a "PV" or "VOP"), the warrant must be served on
the defendant as with any other criminal warrant. This means if there
is a probation violation warrant, there is also probably going to be an
arrest that will result in the defendant having to post a new bond and
appear in court to answer for being accused of violating probation.
Anyone accused of violating probation has the right to have an attorney.
If the defendant contests the allegations regarding the violation, the
defendant has a right for the court to hear the allegations and present
evidence to defend the allegations. Sometimes, an agreement can be reached
with the government to resolve allegations of violating probation without
the need of having a hearing. The agreement may involve serving some period
of time in jail, complete an extended probationary period or comply with
any other condition of the probationary the court deems reasonable.
In the event an agreement cannot be reached to resolve the probation violation
allegations, and a hearing is held, if the court finds the defendant has
violated the conditions of probation by a preponderance of the evidence
(meaning more likely than not), the court has the authority to revoke
the suspended sentence (revoke the probation) and order the defendant
to serve all or a portion of the sentence. The court also has the authority
to resentence the defendant for the remainder of the probationary period
to any community-based alternative to incarceration, permitted by Tennessee
law, as long as the violation of probation is a "technical"
violation and does not involve the commission of a new criminal offense.
If you are accused of violating probation, do not wait unit the last minute
to get your defense started. Contact Murfreesboro attorneys at Parkerson