What is a Violation of Probation Hearing?

One all too common scenario is that a defendant picks up a case and receives probation. Then, while on probation, that same defendant is arrested and picks up a new case.

A common question asked at this time is Can you be locked up by the probation judge separate and apart from the new case?

The answer is yes.

Some people in this situation think that they only have one case pending, the new one. Not true. You have 2 cases going on at the same time, not one. One is the new criminal case where a judge can set bond, you have the right to go to trial or plea, and you have the right to a jury trial where the State has to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The other case you can expect to see is that the State would file a Petition to Violate your probation based on the argument that one of the conditions of one’s probation is not to break the law as well as any other accusations that they can come up with. In some Illinois Counties like Cook, these are called Violation of Probation (VOP) proceedings. In other Illinois counties, they are called Petition to Revoke Probation proceedings (PTR). They are the same thing.

One can expect a charge that one violated probation by breaking the law. One can also find such a petition being filed against a defendant for any failure to obey the terms and conditions of probation such as not reporting to your probation officer or willfully refusing to pay fines and fees.

Just as the judge on the new criminal case can set bond on you, the probation judge can set a separate additional bond on this accusation. The State has the opportunity to try to prove you violated your probation by a preponderance of the evidence, which means more likely that the defendant violated probation than not. That defendant does not have the protection of proof beyond a reasonable doubt and he/she do not have the right to a jury trial in a violation of probation proceeding.

If the judge finds the defendant violated probation, then any sentence that defendant you could have received when the judge originally chose to give probation, that defendant can receive again on a re-sentencing. If it’s a misdemeanor probation, that can mean County Jail time. If it’s a felony probation, that can mean prison.

Anyone in this position needs a good criminal defense lawyer. The Law Office of William Wolf, LLC has vast experience navigating these waters that can sometimes mean the defendant is facing more than one judge for more than one charge.

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