Probation violations like testing positive on a drug test can mean that the defendant is exposed to being sentenced to substantial prison time. For example, if the reason for the probation was a third degree felony, the maximum exposure is five years in prison. If the underlying crime was a second degree felony, the maximum exposure is 15 years (first degree felonies carry a maximum prison sentence of 30 years). The defendant is entitled to credit for the time served, but oftentimes substantial prison time is still in play.
The hardest part about defending a probation violation is that the standard for the government to prove the violation is really low. They don’t have to prove that the violation occurred beyond a reasonable doubt. The government only has to show that sufficient evidence exists to find the defendant in violation. The violations are usually pretty easy to prove and that means quick action to defend against them is usually vital.
Surprisingly, all hope is not necessarily lost. If drug or alcohol addiction is a factor, the violation may present itself to be an opportunity to intervene and provide rehabilitation services to the defendant. Rehabilitation is always a win-win if the government is willing to give the client a second chance. The court can also sentence the client to more probation or modify the current probation to drug offender probation. Clients are wise to consider that drug treatment is a great alternative to jail and prison time and could be the saving grace to preventing future offenses. For more information on defending probation violations in Miami, Broward, Monroe or Palm Beach, call Criminal Defense Attorney Matthew E. Ladd, Esq., 305-665-3978.