If you are currently on probation in Las Vegas, Nevada, you probably know that any number of things can put you in violation. Committing another crime will surely do it. So will missing a date with your probation officer, refusing to submit to a compulsory drug test or failing to pay a court-ordered fine. Although the specifics of every case will vary, the consequences are always the same.
The Aftermath of a Violation
If you defy the terms of your probation, you’ll soon find yourself standing before a judge. Notice of this mandated appearance can arrive via a summons in your mailbox or a bench warrant for your arrest. If criminal activity has played a role, a member of law enforcement might hasten the process by taking you into custody. In any case, the magistrate before whom you appear will schedule a hearing to determine whether you have in fact violated your probation.
While awaiting your revocation hearing, you must make a serious effort to honor your probation’s provisions. Any failure to do so will only hurt you at this point, but an honest attempt to stick to its conditions will show good faith on your part and might encourage the judge to find in your favor.
The Actual Probation Revocation Hearing
Despite its close resemblance to a trial, a probation revocation hearing differs in several ways. Rather than attempt to convict you of a crime, its only intent is to determine whether you have or have not breached the terms of your probation. Furthermore, you will not be facing a jury. You need only make your case before the judge.
Probation Revocation Hearings and Your Legal Rights
By law, any defendant in a probation revocation hearing is going to enjoy certain privileges. These include the right to:
- Benefit from the legal representation of a criminal defense lawyer.
- Present evidence and testify on your own behalf.
- Cross-examine witnesses and summon some of your own.
Despite the similarities, however, one crucial element sets the probation revocation hearing apart from an ordinary trial. This is the fact that as the hearing progresses, the prosecutor is not responsible for proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A preponderance of evidence against you is enough to do the trick. Because of this major discrepancy, the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney will likely be essential to winning your case.
The Outcome of Your Hearing
After considering all the evidence, the judge will decide your fate. If he finds in your favor, your life and your restrictions will continue as before. On the other hand, the judge who rules against you will either intensify the limits of your current probation or decide to revoke it completely.
Any revocation is bound to subject you to additional penalties, but not all will be equally harsh. In the interests of fairness, the judge will consider:
- Your entire criminal record.
- The details of your violation.
- How long you stuck to the terms of your probation prior to this one misstep.
- The recommendations of Nevada’s Division of Parole and Probation.
At worst, the judge could sentence you to a period of incarceration that might range in severity from house arrest to the maximum prison term allowable for your original crime.
Waiving Your Right to a Hearing
The law does not force you to submit to a probation revocation hearing. You can choose instead to stipulate to the allegations that appear in the violation report. This course might be to your benefit if you:
- Know that the charges, although true to a certain extent, are only part of the story.
- Want to keep the probation officer from testifying.
- Are hoping to paint yourself in a more favorable light.
- Prefer to settle the matter in the shortest amount of time.
By choosing to stipulate to the report, you are not agreeing to a revocation of your probation. You are merely arguing for its reinstatement. Whether you succeed in this endeavor will depend upon three things: the gravity of your original crime, the nature of your violation, and the temperament of the presiding judge.
How the Criminal Defense Lawyers at Weiner Law Group Can Help
No one facing a probation revocation hearing in Las Vegas, Nevada, should attempt to go it alone. The attorneys at Weiner Law Group will examine the specifics of your case, advise you on the best direction to take and provide the representation you need at this critical point in time. To increase your chance for a successful outcome, call today at 702-202-0500 for a free consultation.