Violations of Probation in Michigan Can Result in Serious Punishment, but Defenses May Exist


July 29, 2016
by The Law Office of Steven L. Schwartz

After someone is convicted of a crime, probation will often be a part of the sentence handed down by the presiding judge. Probation sentences can have a number of conditions, including mandatory drug treatment, community service, restitution, fines and costs, and of course, remaining conviction-free during the period of probation.

In Michigan, there are two types of violations of probation, direct and indirect. An indirect violation of probation is a failure to comply with a term of the judge’s probationary sentence. For example, this may happen if a probationer reports to his probation officer and submits a drug test that comes back positive. A direct violation of probation occurs when a probationer picks up a new case and is convicted. Importantly, an arrest without a conviction is rarely a violation of probation because there has not yet been an adjudication on the new arrest.

A recent article highlights one man’s violation of probation sentence. During his sentencing proceeding, he was ordered to engage in drug treatment, to remain free of drugs and alcohol, and to report to all further court proceedings. However, he failed to appear for court, and a bench warrant was issued. When he was later arrested on the bench warrant and brought before the judge, the man explained that he had not completed treatment and had continued to smoke marijuana and consume alcohol. After hearing this, the judge sentenced the man to an additional 12 to 24 months’ incarceration.

“Second Chances” May Be Hard to Come by When a judge hands down a probationary sentence, it is often seen as giving that person a chance to succeed on their own without the need for a lengthy term of incarceration. However, when a probationer violates probation, judges will often take offense, figuring that the chance they provided to that person was wasted. Therefore, in many cases, judges will sentence harshly on violations of probation.

It is important to have a dedicated attorney at your side at a probation violation hearing. Depending on the type of probation someone is on, as well as the alleged violation, there may be numerous defenses to the violation. At other times, admitting that the violation occurred and offering an honest explanation is the best way to proceed. This is usually the case when someone is testing positive for controlled substances as a result of a drug addiction. In any event, a skilled attorney can help discuss a pending violation hearing.

Are You in Violation of Your Probation? If you recently found out that you are in violation of your probation in Michigan, you should immediately consult with Attorney Steven Schwartz. With Attorney Schwartz’ assistance, you will be able to make sure that the judge gets your full story and is presented with any mitigating evidence that can act in your favor. Unlike trials, violation hearings are not bound by the rules of evidence and tend to be more informal, but the punishments can still be great. Call (248) 930-5019 to set up a free consultation with Attorney Steven Schwartz today.

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