Boston Probation Violation Lawyer | Have You Violated Your Probation?
Massachusetts Probation Violation Attorneys
When you are placed on probation, the court expects you to comply with the terms of your probation contract. The conditions outlined within this agreement involve obeying all state, local, and federal laws, reporting regularly to your probation officer, and other common-sense measures. There may also be terms specific to your situation, such as paying restitution or performing community service. If you do not adhere to these, you have committed a probation violation.
In Massachusetts, the most common violations include:
- Failure to pass drug/alcohol tests
- Arrest or conviction for a new crime
- Failure to pay fines, fees, or restitution
- Missing meetings with probation officer
- Failure to complete court-mandated treatments or community service
If you do not comply with these terms, you are considered to be in violation of your probation. This can result in an immediate loss of freedom, meaning that you will be taken into custody while everything is sorted out.
Penalty for Probation Violation in Massachusetts
If you violate your probation, your probation officer is required by law to take action. Their initial response may include requesting a warrant for your arrest, adding more conditions to your probation, revoking any accumulated compliance credit, and revoking your probation entirely, which could result in a judge sentencing you to jail or prison.
It is important to note that a probation officer is responsible to the court and community. They do not have the power to excuse you from any of your conditions, including reporting, making payments, or drug testing. Only the court can do this.
Penalties for probation violation vary based on your circumstances, such as the severity of initial charges, your criminal record, and which terms were violated. As such, these violations carry significant penalties, including the possibility of jail time or added time on probation.
What to Expect at an Initial Probation Surrender Hearing
If you have violated your probation, it is common for probation officers to issue a “surrender notice” that forces you to appear in court before a judge, who may issue a warrant for your arrest. These proceedings are called probation surrender hearings.
The initial surrender hearing occurs when you are formally notified of the alleged probation violations in court. Then the judge will determine whether there is probable cause that you committed the alleged violations. At this time, the judge will decide whether you will be held in jail without bail until the final surrender hearing. It is strongly recommended that you contract experienced legal representation to avoid being held in jail.
The Final Surrender Hearing
The final surrender hearing differs in that your probation officer will have likely called witnesses to testify that you have violated the terms of your probation. If you have hired an attorney, they will be able to cross-examine these witnesses or call additional witnesses on your behalf. Through these processes, it is possible to defend you against allegations of probation violation. Your legal defense would also be able to negotiate the terms of punishment if there is strong evidence that you violated a term of your probation.
Proven Legal Representation
If you’ve been accused of violating your probation, you need qualified representation. At Coughlin Law Group, we have advised many clients who were facing violations hearings. Our team of former prosecutors has developed a deep understanding of the legal system, particularly with respect to accusations of parole violations. Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation today.