Probation Violation Lawyer

Probation Defense Attorney in Arapahoe, Douglas, Denver, & Adams County, CO

Probation is not easy - it's not meant to be either. By statutory definition, probation is an alternative to jail. It's ordered in lieu of jail. When you view it that way, the power of the courts and probation officers to order certain things (i.e. home visits, urine testing, prohibiting alcohol and marijuana, curfews, etc.) starts to make more sense. Colorado Courts have ruled that people on probation do not have the same rights as those not on probation due to this quasi-custodial status. Speaking of custody, jail sentences can be imposed during a probation term as a punitive or corrective sanction. They can also be imposed when probation is revoked due to an alleged violation.

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There are two types of violations: technical (hot UA's, missed meetings, etc) and substantive violations (picking up new criminal charges). There are two different standards of proof to revoke probation. For technical violations, it's by a preponderance of the evidence or 'more likely than not'. For substantive violations, it's beyond a reasonable doubt. Pursuant to C.R.S. § 16-11-206(3), the prosecution has the burden of establishing by a preponderance of the evidence the violation of a condition of probation; except that the commission of a criminal offense must be established beyond a reasonable doubt unless the probationer has been convicted thereof in a criminal proceeding.

Individuals on probation need to keep one thing in mind - if their probation is revoked, they face up to the maximum jail or prison sentence they could have received in the first place. That's pretty daunting and scary.

Because of that severity in consequence, individuals on probation are afforded limited constitutional rights to ensure that they are not placed in jail without due process. Hiring an attorney in this situation is critical. It may be the difference between successfully completing probation and going to jail.

The following "minimum requirements of due process" at parole or probation revocation hearings are required: (a) Written notice of the claimed violations of probation; (b) disclosure to the probationer of evidence against him; (c) opportunity to be heard in person and to present witnesses and documentary evidence; (d) the right to confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses (unless the hearing officer specifically finds good cause for not allowing confrontation); (e) a "neutral and detached" hearing body such as a traditional parole board, members of which need not be judicial officers or lawyers; and (f) a written statement by the fact finders as to the evidence relied on and reasons for revoking probation. See People v. Atencio, 525 P.2d 461, 462 (Colo. 1974) (citing Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. 471, (1972) and Gagnon v. Scarpelli, 411 U.S. 778 (1973); People v. Thomas, 599 P.2d 957 (Colo. 1979).

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