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Violation of Probation (VOP)

A violation of probation is a serious matter, one that could easily result in jail time without effective legal representation. If you are found to have committed a violation of probation (VOP), you may be imprisoned for part or all of the portion of your sentence that was suspended when you were first placed on probation. You may also lose the benefit of any previous finding of Probation Before Judgment. I can help you avoid these serious consequences.

When your probation officer feels that you have violated a condition of your probation, he requests a summons or a warrant from the judge to ensure your appearance in court at a violation of probation hearing. At your violation of probation hearing, the judge will determine whether or not you have violated the conditions of your probation, and if you have, the penalty for the violation.

If you believe that your probation officer may have violated your probation, or if you have done anything that may be a violation of your probation, you may have an outstanding bench warrant for your arrest for a violation of probation. You should not expect to be notified that there is a warrant outstanding for your arrest for violating your probation. Instead, the police will simply try to arrest you, and will often lie to you about existence of the warrant in order to accomplish that.

Depending on your situation, the warrant for your arrest arising out of the alleged violation of probation can be as much of a problem as the violation of probation itself. Fortunately, I can often get these warrants recalled, avoiding your arrest and the accompanying period of incarceration. If you are arrested and no bond is allowed, or the bond is set at a level too high for you to afford, you may be incarcerated until your violation of probation hearing.

When a judge places you on probation, the judge suspends part or all of your sentence. That suspended part of your sentence which you have not already served is the maximum penalty that may be imposed for violating the conditions of your probation. Acts that are a violation of probation may also be independent crimes carrying their own maximum penalties, for which you could be tried and sentenced separately.

If you are found guilty or placed on probation before judgment in a separate proceeding while you are already on probation, that finding alone will generally be sufficient to prove a violation of probation. For that reason, it is very important to vigorously defend each and every offense that you may be charged with while you are on probation. If you are on probation and you are charged with a crime, please contact me immediately. I can often resolve additional charges in a way that will not violate your probation.

A Maryland violation of probation hearing is different from a criminal trial in many ways, as it is legally a civil proceeding. The standard of proof is far lower at a violation of probation hearing; the State only has to show that you violated your probation by a preponderance of the evidence, not beyond a reasonable doubt. Also, the judge need not always follow the same rules of evidence in a violation of probation hearing that would apply at a trial. Still, there are many important legal protections that I can use to defend you and present your side of the story.

If the judge finds that you have violated the terms of your probation at your violation of probation hearing, part or all of the suspended portion of your sentence may be imposed. However, what the judge actually decides to do can change greatly depending on what happens at your violation of probation hearing. Even if you are eventually proven to have knowingly violated your probation, I may be able to convince the judge that your violation does not merit any significant penalty.

Maryland violation of probation hearings may be scheduled more quickly than trials, and many defenses are available. Call (301) 556-8709 today so that we can get to work on your case.