Probation Violation in Michigan

What is Probation in Michigan?

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Everyone has heard the term “Probation.” But does everyone really know what it means?

Probation is court supervision of anyone convicted of a misdemeanor or felony. A conviction can be by plea or after a trial. Misdemeanors can be state law misdemeanors, ordinance violations, and even traffic misdemeanors. Under probation, the sentencing judge has control over some areas of the convicted person’s life and what they can do, can’t do, and must do for a period of time. Probation is not considered to be a “right,” and a person found guilty of a crime has no choice about whether they will be under the control of either the court through the court’s probation department or, alternatively, jail or prison. For obvious reasons, people convicted of a crime hope their lawyer is influential enough to convince the judge to order a term of probation because the alternative is usually jail.

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Of course, some people find the idea of being told what to do repugnant, and virtually all lawyers have been asked by a client, “If I take the plea being offered, will I have to be on probation?” It is possible in some cases for the sentence to be fines and costs only, without probation; however, this is exceptionally rare.

There are many reasons for probation. Generally, courts use a term of probation to help a client deal with life problems, like substance abuse issues or mental health concerns, or provide some other form of rehabilitation. In other cases, probation is used as a punishment but, at the same time, as an alternative to jail. These clients fail to appreciate the fact that the court wants to ensure the client will not re-offend, and the public will be protected. Therefore, the court will prohibit alcohol and unprescribed drugs in virtually all cases, even those having nothing to do with drugs or alcohol.

What are the Typical Terms of Probation?

As stated above, in virtually all probationary sentences, no alcohol or unprescribed drugs are permitted to be used. Over 60% of all criminal cases involve alcohol or drugs in some way. Probation invariably involves mandatory abstinence. Failing drug or alcohol tests or failing to submit to them as ordered can result in a jail term and perhaps an extended probationary term.

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Probationers not only have to submit to the control of the probation department, they have to pay for it. So-called supervision costs are the costs of testing, reporting, meeting with a probation agent, and perhaps taking certain classes. Sometimes a court will allow a probation term to be “non-reporting.” Cases where this is allowed are relatively minor offenses with no obvious involvement of alcohol or drugs.

Depending on the case, terms of probation sometimes include:

  • community service,
  • fines and costs,
  • organized court work force,
  • writing essays,
  • not going into bars,
  • mental health therapy,
  • court ordered classes,
  • tether (alcohol or GPS),
  • no contact with victims,
  • no assaultive or aggressive behavior,
  • truthful reporting to probation,
  • no driving,
  • staying in the state of Michigan unless permission is granted to leave,
  • no new criminal charges,
  • complete a high school degree,
  • and obtain or maintain employment.

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How Long Does a Term of Probation Last?

The length of a probationary term varies based upon the crime, the history of the defendant, and the abilities of the defense attorney. Usually, felony probation is up to five years. It is often shorter but depends on the circumstances and if the judge can be convinced to order a shorter term. A top-rated, reputable defense attorney can sometimes influence a judge to impose a much shorter term. Sentencing allocution is an art and only the most exceptional lawyers routinely achieve exceptional outcomes for clients. Success at sentencing requires a thorough understanding of the defendant, the judge, and the prosecutor. All aspects of a court’s operations must be expertly orchestrated in harmony to shorten a standard term and reduce the obligations on the defendant. When the judge asks, “Why should I give your client a break on the length of probation?” Your attorney had better have a great answer. The best lawyers always do.

With misdemeanor convictions, the term of probation is routinely one year, although it may be as high as two years. An astute lawyer will know the arguments that can be made to potentially reduce that time to six months or even less, depending on the circumstances of the client and the case. No lawyer can guarantee any specific sentence although a top lawyer gives the client the best chance of getting lenient terms of probation.

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The Best Criminal Defense Attorneys in Michigan for a Probationary Sentence

The dedicated, experienced and zealous defense attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have successfully represented thousands of clients on felony and misdemeanor charges in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw, and Livingston Counties and throughout Southeastern Michigan. We have a well-earned reputation for providing the highest quality defense and aggressive representation, while showing empathy and care for each client. Call us today at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.

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Probation Violation in Michigan

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If you stand in violation of probation, enlist the representation of a qualified, seasoned, and reputable attorney immediately. Failing to complete a court-ordered activity or relocating without authorization from your probation officer may seem like small, insignificant choices, the consequences are taken seriously in the state of Michigan. Without the representation of a trusted, seasoned attorney, your probation may be revoked and you will instead be ordered to jail time.

Know the Terms of Your Probation

A large percentage of probation violators fail to carry out a requirement of their probation unknowingly, which is why it is important to be well versed and to fully understand what the court expects from you. Terms of probation are all different, tailored personally to each individual. For example, it may be a term of the probation that the individual must keep a job or be able to pass a drug test. Missing appointments with the probation officer and/or missing a court appearance are common probation violations. We all have moments of forgetfulness and lapses in judgment but even the smallest infraction can have huge ramifications. In an attempt at leniency, the state of Michigan grants probation, and once the trust is broken, it can be difficult to avoid a heavier sentence without a great criminal defense lawyer.

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Penalty for Probation Violation

If you are convicted of violating probation for a felony or misdemeanor, the maximum penalty is the same as the maximum penalty for the original offense. For example, if you are on probation for a first offense Domestic Violence, OWI or Retail Fraud, the maximum possible sentence is 93 days in jail. For a felony, the same rule applies.

LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C Can Help You Avoid Jail Time

Hiring an aggressive, reputable lawyer is paramount to staying out of jail if you have violated or are being accused of violating probation. We have successfully represented clients in Oakland county, Macomb County, Wayne County, Livingston County, Washtenaw County, and many other counties throughout Southeastern Michigan. We have a strong history with the judges and court staff in these counties and have had success keeping our clients out of jail after probation violations. After decades of defending clients in these counties, we know how to best protect our clients and minimize potential life altering consequences.

If you are currently in violation of probation or have already violated the terms of your probation, please call now. We can help! Please give us a call at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and one of our criminal defense attorneys will promptly contact you.

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