VIRGINIA PROBATION VIOLATIONS
In Virginia, there are two ways you can end up on probation. First, you could receive a suspended sentence, which does not require you to serve active jail time up front. In lieu of serving time in jail, you will be placed on supervised probation, which has varying requirements according to the case and the jurisdiction. The regular requirements are usually that you must report for appointments with your probation officer, refrain from committing any new legal violations, stay drug free, and meet all of your obligations (such as restitution, child support, community service) in a timely manner. If you violate these conditions, your probation officer will issue a violation report. The second way to be placed on probation is after you serve time in jail or prison. Jail or prison sentences are very often followed by probationary periods with the same obligations as above. In Virginia, the amount of suspended time remaining on your sentence is the potential time you could serve in prison for any probation violation.
Individuals who are alleged to have violated their probation must appear in court, answer the violation charges, and are at risk of serving a jail or prison sentence if the supervision is revoked.A defendant in this situation is in a unique and unfortunate position. Clients who face this battle have often invested significant emotional, mental, physical, and financial resources into rebuilding their lives after their conviction or prison sentence. Often, they face onerous hardships, such as transportation problems and unemployment, a boss who does not understand their probation obligations, juggling between child care and other obligations, and finally, an ongoing struggle with substance abuse and relapse. These clients deserve someone who understands and can eloquently communicate to the court their plight, and highlight the positive progress they have made.
Many choices face a defendant in this position- whether to admit to some unlawful conduct, deny it, or say nothing; and whether to testify or not testify. In most cases, the perceived hopelessness of the situation can lead to giving up and the client incriminating himself or herself. This seems like the expedient course but ends up causing more emotional, financial, and physical turmoil to themselves and their family. We are ready to intervene at any stage in this process to rescue the situation. Not only will we handily navigate between the Commonwealth Attorney's Office and the Office of Probation, we are able to obtain the information needed to advise my clients of the best course. Our clients are given a plan of action which, when followed, provides us with the tools to get the desired result in court.
When it comes time for the violation hearing, we do not merely stand up and “plead” to the violation – we present character and factual evidence about the hardships of our clients, and why they deserve another chance. This approach has gained former clients deferrals, dismissals, and below-guidelines sentences in countless cases.