First things first – don’t panic. Violating your probation doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be immediately thrown in jail. However, you do need to consider the potential penalties that you could receive if convicted. Keep in mind: the type of penalty you may receive will stem mainly from the severity of the probation violation. In Chicago and elsewhere in Cook County, if your violation was a lesser crime, the court may sentence less severe penalties such as community service or enroll you in a mandatory program. These programs will vary depending on the nature of your crime. Alternatively, if you have committed a felony, there is the possibility that you may be sentenced to spend the rest of your probationary period in jail. In any case, it is vital to have a knowledgeable and strategic probation violation charges attorney to help protect yourself duringtrial.
The processes that occur during a probation violation trial differ from the procedures at other types of trials that you may have experienced. The greatest difference is that the legal standard in which to prove guilt is drastically decreased. There is no “beyond a reasonable doubt,” but instead a “preponderance of evidence.” What this means is that if the judge determines that the likelihood of your probation violation is over fifty percent, you will be convicted. You will also be forced to testify against yourself without the protection of self-incrimination laws. Despite these difficulties, there are different ways in which an attorney can protect you in court.
Remember two terms: “willful” and “substantial.” These two terms need to be proven in order to result in a probation violation conviction. Is there evidence that indicates that you understood the nature of your probation violation and did nothing to prevent this violation? The prosecution needs to prove that you intentionally violated probation and that this violation impacts your probation. These are factors that an experienced attorney can skillfully refutein court. With this, your best weapon in a probation violation case is a seasoned Chicago probation violation charges defense attorney, like David M. Smith, to navigate the convoluted nature of probation violation trials.