Washtenaw County Violation of Probation Attorney
Felony and misdemeanor probation violations routinely result in jail or prison sentences. Working with an experienced and effective criminal defense lawyer can mean the difference between incarceration and freedom.
Probation Violation in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, or Elsewhere in Washtenaw County
In Washtenaw County, a defendant convicted of a felony or misdemeanor may be placed on probation instead of jail time or given some combination of jail and probation. In most Washtenaw County violation of probation cases, the judge can order up to two (2) years of probation on a misdemeanor and five (5) years of probation on a felony.
When a defendant is placed on probation, the court will sign an Order of Probation that will list any terms and conditions the defendant must strictly follow for a certain period. Suppose the probation department alleges that the defendant violated a condition of probation or failed to do something ordered by the judge. In that case, they will file a Petition for Violation of Probation and may issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest.
Washtenaw County Probation Violations and Jail Time
Although judges routinely sentence probation violators to jail, incarceration is not required. Any person accused of violating probation should retain an experienced, successful defense lawyer to assist them. Even in cases where judges tell a defendant that they can expect jail upon a probation violation, a savvy lawyer can often find a way to persuade the judge to change their mind. If there are multiple or successive probation violations, it can be a challenge for a defense lawyer to keep a client out of jail or prison. The attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have an unparalleled track record of success in helping clients obtain lenient sentences for probation violations in Washtenaw County. Even when jail or prison seems like a virtual certainty, our attorneys have developed strategies to turn the tables on the probation department and convince the judge to consider an alternative to incarceration.
The Defendant Might Be Innocent of Probation Violation
Some probation officers are quick to file a probation violation, even when it is unclear that the defendant did anything wrong. In rare circumstances, probation officers have been known to file probation violations to harass a defendant or cause unwarranted grief. Unfortunately, Washtenaw County judges are quick to presume the reliability of a probation officer’s allegation and blindly trust their probation violation claims. Successfully defending a probation violation at a hearing takes considerable skill, tenaciousness, and preparation. Unlike a misdemeanor or felony criminal allegation, a probationer is not presumed innocent until proven guilty. The standard for conviction is merely a preponderance of the evidence (more than 50%) and not beyond a reasonable doubt. While many lawyers who are retained on a violation of probation put little effort or care into the case’s outcome, the attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are devoted to achieving the best feasible outcome, including an acquittal when possible.
Types of Probation Violation
Probation is not ordered for every conviction in Washtenaw County, including probation violations. There are types of cases where judges frequently order a term of probation. These offenses include:
- Domestic Violence
- Assault Charges
- Weapon Charges
- Drug Charges
- Operating While Intoxicated (OWI, DUI, etc.)
- Retail Fraud
- Breaking and Entering
- Home Invasion
- Criminal Sexual Conduct 4th Degree
- White-Collar Crimes
Possible Sentences for a Violation of Probation
If the judge finds that a defendant violated their probation, they will impose a sentence that might include jail, additional probation, fines, costs, etc. Judges have wide latitude when crafting a sentence on a probation violation. Because the judge has considerable discretion at sentencing, the expertise and proficiency of the defendant’s lawyer can be instrumental in achieving a lenient sentence. Some potential sentences a Washtenaw County Circuit Court or District Court judge may impose for probation violations include:
- continued probation,
- additional time on probation,
- community service,
- fines and costs,
- tether or home confinement,
- more stringent terms and conditions (such as a curfew, substance abuse testing, and more),
- court community work programs,
- therapy or education,
- prohibition on contact with another person, a home, or a business,
- more frequent reporting to probation,
- jail or prison, and
- much more.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do you have to go to jail for a probation violation in Washtenaw County?
You do not have to go to jail in Washtenaw County for a probation violation; however, a judge might be inclined to order incarceration. If a defendant shows appropriate remorse, has a plan to prevent future violations, and can instill confidence in a judge they are on the right track, the judge might not order jail or prison time.
What might a judge do if they determine that a probation violation has occurred?
The maximum sentence for a probation violation is the same as the maximum sentence for the original charge. For example, if the original charge was punishable by up to 5 years in prison, the judge can order up to that amount of time for a probation violation. In most cases, a skilled attorney can persuasively advocate for dismissal of the violation or a lenient sentence.
What are probation violations in Washtenaw County?
When someone is granted probation, the judge signs a judgment or Order of Probation containing various terms and conditions, such as no new crimes, no drug or alcohol use, testing for prohibited substances, education, therapy, community service, etc. If the probation department believes a probationer has failed to follow the probation order, they file a notice of probation violation with the court.
How does probation work in Ann Arbor?
Although probation can include a term of incarceration, an order of probation usually compels the defendant to follow terms and conditions that do not include jail. The court’s probation department monitors the defendant and notifies the court if they fail to comply with the requirements of probation. Once the defendant gets to the end of the probation term, the case is closed, and the defendant is discharged from further court supervision.
What type of hearing is usually part of the violation of probation?
A defendant who disagrees with the probation violation allegations is entitled to a contested hearing. If the prosecutor fails to prove the allegations, the probation violation is dismissed. If the judge believes the defendant violated probation, they are found guilty and sentenced accordingly.
Can a probation violation in Washtenaw County be dismissed?
A probation violation in Washtenaw County can be dismissed. When hired for a Washtenaw County probation violation, the VOP Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. gets to work immediately to seek dismissal of the violation allegations. If we can demonstrate that the allegations are untrue or there was a misunderstanding, the probation department can dismiss the charges. If there is a hearing, we will zealously defend our client and seek dismissal of the probation violation at the conclusion of the hearing.
Washtenaw County Probation Violation Defense Attorneys
The attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have decades of experience successfully defending clients on probation violation charges in the Washtenaw County Circuit Court and the various district courts, including:
- 15th District Court for the City of Ann Arbor
- 14A District Court for all cases in Washtenaw County except those within the City of Ann Arbor (15th District) and the Township of Ypsilanti (14B District)
- 14A-2 District Court in the City of Ypsilanti
- 14A-3 District Court in Chelsea
- 14A-4 District Court in Saline
- 14B District Court in the Township of Ypsilanti
Our lawyers will not manipulate or push you into a guilty plea if you are innocent of probation violation. We will not back down from a harsh judge or a renegade probation officer who is on a mission to violate you. When you need someone to faithfully fight for you and do everything possible to protect you, you will want the Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. standing by your side. Much of our success with probation violations results from meticulous and thorough preparation and research. A defense to probation violation can be legal, constitutional, factual, scientific, or medical. We will take the time to explore every available defense and mitigating strategy. We will not let you down, and we will find a way to help you.
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.