It Is Possible to Avoid Jail for a Probation Violation!

If your lawyer is telling you that you have to go to jail because of a VOP, you need a new lawyer. Don’t get sold out!

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You deserve a lawyer who will aggressively and effectively fight for you!

You do not have to go to jail for violation of probation. The criminal defense attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. represent clients on violations of probation (VOP) in misdemeanor and felony cases throughout Michigan. We frequently appear on probation violations in Oakland County, Macomb County, Wayne County, Livingston County, Washtenaw County, and Southeastern Michigan. Trust our team for unmatched representation and a defense strategy committed to safeguarding your freedom and minimizing consequences. We will find a way to help you!

What is the worst thing that can happen?

In any probation violation, the defendant faces the maximum possible sentence on the original charge. For example, a violation of a 93-day misdemeanor can result in a sentence of up to 93 days in jail (with credit for time served). If the original charge was a felony, punishable by up to four (4) years in prison, the violator could receive a prison sentence with a minimum of no greater than 2/3 of the maximum and up to a maximum of four years in prison (otherwise known as a term of years).

In Michigan, any sentence to prison that is not a sentence to life in prison must be a “term of years.” A “term of years” means a minimum to the sentence and a maximum to the sentence. For example, “one to four years in prison” is considered a “term of years.” A one-to-four-year sentence results in parole eligibility after the defendant serves one year, an amount of time in prison equivalent to the bottom or lesser number. If the defendant is not granted parole, they cannot be imprisoned longer than the four-year maximum. As mentioned above, the rule in Michigan is that the minimum time cannot exceed 2/3 of the maximum time. Sticking with the example of a felony with a four-year (48-month) maximum, the highest possible minimum on the sentence would be 2/3 of four years or 32 months, e.g., 32 months to 48 months.

Are there limits on what the judge can do? Yes!

A judge fashioning a sentence on a felony violation of probation must consider the Michigan Sentence Guidelines. The sentencing guidelines for the VOP are whatever the sentencing guidelines were for the original offense at the time of the original sentencing. A sentencing judge can exceed the sentencing guidelines if doing so is “reasonable.” At the same time, a persuasive criminal defense lawyer can convince a judge to sentence a client below the sentencing guidelines if it is “reasonable” to do so for a probation violation. If a judge guaranteed jail or prison upon a probation violation during the original sentencing hearing, don’t believe it. Judges frequently boast about “fire and brimstone” style sentences if the defendant violates probation; however, a great lawyer may convince the judge that an alternative sentence makes more sense.

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Are there alternatives to jail?

Yes! All of this being said, a jail or prison is unnecessary if there is a conviction for violating probation. When the attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. represent a client on a VOP, we have a strategy developed over many years to avoid incarceration if possible and minimize other potential consequences. We work with experts in various fields who cooperate with us in developing mitigating evidence a lawyer can use to persuade a judge to find an alternative to jail or prison. We also carefully examine every aspect of our clients’ cases, their lives, and their other personal circumstances to develop the most persuasive argument possible for a lenient sentence, a delayed sentence, and, in many cases, a DISMISSAL of the probation violation.

Another strategy, only possible with a retained lawyer, is to negotiate and coordinate with the probation officer or supervisor to provide helpful information, negotiate a favorable recommendation, discuss a reduction in the probation violation allegations, or seek a dismissal of the violation before the probation violation hearing.

Your Best Defense to Violation of Probation Allegations

A probation violation allegation doesn’t mean there is no hope. Our team of experienced probation violation defense lawyers routinely wins probation violation hearings. Some of our most successful defenses include the following:

  • Lack of Intent: Arguing the violation was not intentional but resulted from misunderstanding or circumstances beyond the client’s control.
  • Substantial Compliance: Demonstrating that any violations were minor and the client substantially complied with the terms of their probation.
  • Inability to Comply: Showing the client was unable to comply with specific probation terms due to unforeseen circumstances, such as financial hardship or medical issues.
  • Incorrect Allegations: Challenging the accuracy of the allegations, proving that the supposed violation did not occur.
  • Mitigating Circumstances: Presenting circumstances that mitigate the severity of the violation, such as efforts to address underlying issues like substance abuse or mental health.
  • Technical Violations: Differentiating between technical violations (like missing a meeting) and substantive violations (committing a new crime), arguing for leniency in the former.
  • Positive Progress: Highlighting the client’s positive progress and rehabilitation efforts since being placed on probation, including employment, education, or therapy.
  • Constitutional Rights: Asserting that the probationer’s constitutional rights were violated during the process leading to the alleged violation.
  • Negotiated Resolutions: Working towards a negotiated resolution with the probation officer or prosecutor to amend or reduce the consequences of the violation.
  • Alternative Sentencing: Proposing alternative sentencing options to incarceration, such as extended probation, community service, or enrollment in treatment programs.

These defenses present the client in the best light, emphasizing efforts toward rehabilitation and the unjustness or inaccuracy of the violation claims. If you’re facing probation violation allegations, LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. is prepared to use these and other tailored defenses to protect your rights and freedom. Contact us for a Free Consultation, and let us help you navigate this challenging situation.

An experienced Violation of Probation Defense Attorney can help you.

Over several decades of providing top-quality criminal defense, we have carefully studied the judges and probation officers throughout Michigan to learn what factors are consistently most persuasive with each jurist and what factors the judges find most damaging. We can fully customize the defense for each client to maximize their chances of success based on the individual proclivities of the assigned judge. In some cases, we can try to get the violation dismissed; in others, we can fight for an acquittal at a violation of probation hearing. If there is no reasonable alternative to a conviction, we can work with the judge, probation, and the prosecutor to fashion a sentence as lenient as possible.

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Call Us Today to Avoid Jail or Prison for Violation of Probation

We are always happy to consult with anyone facing a probation violation anywhere in Michigan. If there is a way to help someone, and there almost always is, we will find it. The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has decades of experience successfully getting probation violation charges dismissed and sentences reduced. Do not trust your fate to the lowest bidder because you will not get a second bite at the apple. We can help you. Call us for a free consultation. We will take the time to talk with you and answer your questions about probation violation penalties, allegations, and defenses.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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