Violation of Probation
In Maryland, probation sentences are one of the main ways that a defendant who pleads guilty or is convicted at trial can avoid a jail sentence. Probation can be a blessing for some, but a curse for others. The fact is that successfully completing probation is not easy an easy task, and probation violations are all too common. Probation officers have an exceptional amount of power over their probationers, and once you get on their bad side, they have the ability to make your life miserable. If you have never heard the saying "probation is a set up" then you probably have not spoken with many probationers.
Each year in Maryland, thousands of defendants are placed on probation, and due to overcrowding of jails and prisons, judges and prosecuting lawyers have become increasingly receptive to these sentences. As the number of defendants being placed on probation increases so too does the number of VOPs. Violations can happen for a number of different reasons, and many times the defendant has done nothing wrong to be slapped with one and end up in jail. An experienced Maryland violation of probation lawyer understands that probation officers around the state frequently rush to submit violations, and will work tirelessly to get your probation reinstated or terminated.
Generally speaking, there are two main types of probation violations. Technical probation violations typically occur if a defendant has failed to comply with a condition of his or her probation. A probation officer can initiate a violation of probation for any failure to comply, no matter how trivial it seems. A minor failure to comply such as showing up a few minutes late for a meeting can result in a violation of probation. Other common technical violations of probation include failing to pay criminal restitution, changing addresses without notifying the probation officer, missing drug and alcohol treatment sessions, and failing to stay in contact with probation. Although the law has changed regarding these technical violations, they can still cause a defendant to be arrested and held in jail without bond. If you think that your probation officer has or is about to violate you for a technical violation contact a The Herbst Firm immediately. A criminal lawyer may be able to prevent your arrest. Beginning this year a defendant who is found to have committed a technical violation faces a maximum sentence of 15 days for a first offense, 30 for a second offense, 45 days for a third offense and the full suspended time for a fourth of subsequent offense. It is important to understand that absconding (not showing up for appointments or avoiding supervision) is not considered a technical violation and the new law changes do not apply. Missing one meeting or appointment is not considered absconding but anymore than one could be.
In Maryland the other way to violate probation is to be arrested for a new criminal law violation. New arrest violations will almost certainly result in being held in jail without bail. A person who is on probation and arrested on a new charge will typically have to wait until he or she can be seen by the original sentencing judge before the violation of probation can be handled. This is also the first time that a lawyer may ask the judge for a bond. A criminal lawyer will show up at first appearance and at the first violation hearing to ask the judge for a bond, so that you can fight the violation of probation and the new charge while out of custody. At the first violation of probation hearing the judge will allow you to resolve the violation or schedule it for an evidentiary hearing. Keep in mind that defendants do not have the same constitutional rights at a violation of probation hearing as they do at a criminal trial. Benjamin Herbst is standing by to discuss your case, and can be reached 24 hours a day at 410-207-2598.