This is our fifth and final post regarding probation revocation or violation hearings in Arkansas. Our last post discussed what the procedure one can expect at a probation violation hearing. The series also discussed other important topics for Little Rock probationers to keep in mind. Probation is not the conclusion of your case. You have affirmative obligations to the court and your probation officer and these obligations are things you must do to stay out of jail or prison. These include reporting to your probation officer regularly and keeping him or her advised of your address and phone number at all times. They may also include attending drug treatment or other classes, paying fines and fees, wearing a GPS monitoring device, allowing police to search your person, car and home without cause, and paying any court mandated child support.
It is easier than you think to violate your probation. While under supervision you likely have a long list of things you are required to do and are prohibited from doing other certain things as well. You may be ordered to avoid drugs and alcohol, including avoiding bars or other places where alcohol is the primary item for sale. You may be prohibited from contacting a particular person, such as your partner or spouse in a domestic abuse situation. You will certainly be told you are to violate no laws and if you do you may be charged with a new crime and a probation violation for which the punishment is aggregate. This means that you face sentencing on the old and the new case added together.
All is not lost if your probation officer files a petition requesting a violation. A criminal defense attorney can gather information in your case to help you. Your lawyer will interview you regarding the facts that lead to the petition, review any documentation, interview any witnesses listed in the petition as well as those you suggest may have helpful information. Additionally, your attorney may gather evidence in the form of audio or video recordings if the situation requires it. This might be in a case where the violation is based on a new charge such as a theft or a violation of a protective order. There will also be an investigation into the motivations any witnesses in such a situation might have to lie about the alleged violation. If it is alleged that you failed to meet your affirmative obligations then your lawyer will gather information indicating that you were attending classes or doing the other things the court ordered you to do.
Your counsel will then present this information either in argument for reinstatement or at a hearing if such a procedure is required. A hearing is in front of a judge and involves live testimony. Your attorney will cross-examine the witnesses presented by the prosecution, including your probation officer. He or she will then present any evidence or witnesses gathered in the investigation to aid in rebutting the prosecution’s case.
We cannot stress enough that you need legal representation if you are facing such allegations. Our Little Rock criminal defense attorneys also handle matters in Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Springdale, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Conway, Rogers, Pine Bluff, and throughout the rest of Arkansas. Contact us today.