What Happens at a Probation Revocation Hearing?

April 1, 2021 Criminal Defense

A probation violation occurs when a defendant breaks the terms or conditions of their probation in any way.  Some probation violations are more serious than others and may result in harsher penalties than other violations.  Probation violations can lead to heavy fines, extended probation, jail time, and other consequences.

Probation officers have the choice to either issue a warning or request a defendant appear in court after a probation violation.  Any court appearance for a probation violation is called a probation revocation hearing.  

There are four steps in any probation revocation hearing:

  1. The initial arrest;
  2. First appearances and bond (there is no right to bond or a speedy trial);
  3. A violation of probation, or probation revocation, hearing; and
  4. The sentencing.

At the hearing, the prosecution presents its case, then the defense.  Afterward, there are closing arguments, and then the judge makes his or her ruling.  

There is no jury at a probation revocation hearing.  The judge considers all of the evidence presented to determine if a violation of probation occurred.  The prosecuting attorney must prove his or her case by a preponderance of the evidence or a likelihood of more than fifty percent.  

What Do Judges Consider at a Probation Revocation Hearing? 

Judges consider numerous factors when ruling on probation revocation hearings.  No one circumstance is set apart from the others.  

Most often, judges considerations include:

  • The nature of the violation;
  • The type of violation;
  • The seriousness of the violation;
  • Any history of prior probation violations; and
  • Other aggravating or mitigating circumstances.

If the court finds the defendant not guilty of the probation violation, the defendant is released and returned to probation.  If the court finds the defendant guilty, there is a sentencing hearing shortly after the probation revocation hearing.  

The Probation Revocation Sentencing 

At the sentencing hearing, the judge considers the nature and manner of the offense and whether this was a first or repeat offense.

When passing sentencing, any of the following, and more, may take place:

  • An extension of probation;
  • Imposition of additional or new terms of probation;
  • A brief jail sentence or time served; or
  • A revocation of probation and imposition of the remaining time of the original sentence.

Of the above punishments, the most common is jail or prison time.  However, any sentence inflicted on the defendant may not exceed statutory maximums. 

If you face probation violation charges, contact an experienced probation revocation attorney in Phoenix right away.  It is crucial to know and protect your legal rights as a defendant in a probation revocation hearing. 

Obtaining legal counsel early allows you the best opportunity to refute any charges against you and act quickly to lessen their effect on your liberty.  

As firm believers in justice, the attorneys at Younglove Law Firm are ready to stand by your side and fight for you.  Call our experienced and respected firm today to experience the difference personalized service makes in meeting your legal needs and goals. 

We handle cases in federal, state, municipal, and appellate courts throughout the greater Phoenix metropolitan area and all of Arizona. 

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