Being granted probation can be a huge relief for someone who has been convicted of a crime in Massachusetts. Indeed, when someone is granted probation, it means that they are being released from detention, subject to a period of good behavior. For most defendants, probation is a preferable alternative to serving time in prison or jail.
While being granted probation is usually a good thing, understanding the terms of one’s probation—and actually adhering to those terms—can sometimes prove difficult. The following outlines what you should know about probation violations in our state. If you have more questions or are facing accusations of probation violation, call our Massachusetts criminal defense attorney directly.
What to Know About Probation Violations in Massachusetts
The first thing to know about probation is that the terms of your probation are not optional; they are mandatory. Probation terms are often extremely strict, a slight deviation from the terms of one’s probation or a mistake could have serious effects. In fact, if a person is found to be guilty of violating probation, probation could be revoked and the individual may be required to serve their original prison sentence; the penalty could even be worsened in some cases. Because the consequences of violating probation are so serious, working with a skilled attorney is strongly recommended.
Common Probation Violations
Again, the terms of probation are often very strict, and violating probation can occur by doing something seemingly innocuous. Common ways that people violate their probation often include:
- Using drugs or alcohol
- Failing to report to a probation officer at a scheduled time/place
- Failing to pay fines—paying fines is often part of probation, and failing to do so will constitute a violation of probation terms
- Failing to complete court-ordered community service
- Committing a new crime
- Failing to maintain distance from certain people—one of the terms of a person’s probation may be an order to stay away from convicted criminals or those with a history of bad behavior in the eyes of the law
What Happens When a Probation Violation Is Suspected?
If your probation officer suspects that you have violated your probation, they will file a document with the court called a surrender notice. This will trigger the court to send you a summons; the court may also issue a warrant for your arrest in some cases. The process will then proceed to a surrender hearing where the allegation against you will officially be read and the judge will determine if there is probable cause against you to move forward with the charges of probation violation. If there is probable cause, then the case will proceed to a final surrender hearing where all evidence will be presented and you will have the opportunity to defend yourself.
Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you are charged with a probation violation, the most important things that you can do are to comply with the orders of the court and to hire a skilled Massachusetts criminal defense attorney. At The Law Office of Paul R. Moraski, our lawyer will work hard to represent you and protect your rights. Send us a message today or call (978) 397-0011 to schedule a consultation and get the legal help you need.