Coloradans seeking to comply in good faith with imposed probationary conditions often find that to be an easier-said-than-done task.
For starters, exactions can be many and varied. Keeping close track of every requirement and following it precisely in every instance can be arduous and sometimes confusing. Individuals striving diligently to secure 100% compliance sometimes miss the mark, even without knowing it.
That can be something as simple as missing a slated appointment by mere minutes. Maybe you mistakenly underpaid a fine or didn’t formally complete a required class or community service obligation.
Whatever the alleged lapse, the consequences can be swift and severe. That reality is duly stressed by one legal source addressing Colorado probation violations and defense. That topical overview underscores the potential gravity of probation challenges, stating that “violations could land you in jail if they are not handled correctly.”
In fact, an alleged probation violation is a matter that frequently calls for timely and proven input from experienced criminal defense legal counsel.
A slippery slope: probation violations can occur many ways
The unanticipated and sometimes even random nature of a cited probation violation is noted above. Coupled with that are punishment parameters that are far from predetermined. Outcomes are highly case-specific, variable and discretionary.
The aforementioned Colorado legal primer notes the state’s twofold formal designation of violations as either “technical” or “substantive.”
The former involves alleged infractions like missing a scheduled appearance or visiting a select person or locale without first securing a probation officer’s permission.
A substantive lapse is uniformly deemed more serious. Representative violations include things like rearrest on a new criminal charge (e.g., a drug or weapons offense).
What are an alleged probation violator’s legal rights?
The first thing that a challenged individual should note is that he or she is far from powerless in a probation hearing that potentially promises heightened penalties and punishment.
Legal rights at a probation hearing centrally include these entitlements:
- Written notice (with detailed particulars) of all alleged probationary lapses
- Representation provided by a seasoned criminal defense legal team
- Opportunity to present evidence and to comprehensively challenge relevant parties (including, importantly, the case probation officer, who can be compelled to testify under oath and be rigorously cross-examined)
- Court oversight, with a judge commanding broad discretion, especially when so-called “substantial compliance” has been demonstrated
Probation challenges are common in Colorado. And it is just as common for a diligent and proven defense legal team to successfully defend against alleged violations and secure best-case results for diverse and valued clients.