If you’ve been convicted of a crime, it’s unlikely that you were immediately shuttled off to prison. It’s more likely that you were placed on probation for a period of time and instructed to comply with certain conditions. Sometimes those conditions aren’t met. After all, life happens. In those circumstances, it’s usually best that you contact your probation officer as soon as you realize that you failed to meet one of the conditions. Doing so may prevent a violation report from being filed with the court.
In other situations, the probation officer may not be as inclined to work with you anymore. We often represent people accused of violating their conditions of probation. In many of those cases, the probation officer and the prosecutor are asking the court to revoke your probation and send you to jail. If you violated a condition of your probation, and the state is asking the court to revoke your probation, you may feel powerless and assume going to jail is the only potential outcome. This isn’t necessarily true. In Minnesota, a court has to make certain findings before revoking your probation. According to State v. Austin, the court must:
(1) designate the specific condition or conditions that were violated;
(2) find that the violation was intentional or inexcusable; and
(3) find that the need for confinement outweighs the policies favoring probation.
Even if the court finds that you violated probation, there is no guarantee that you are going to jail. In fact, probation revocation is more a “last resort” option in the criminal justice system. Implicit in all of this is that the probation officer has an obligation to assist you in being successful on probation. If you violated probation, the first question asked should not be whether you should go to jail. Instead, the courts and probation should be asking whether they did everything they could to help get you on the right track. After all, the purpose of probation is rehabilitation.
Of course, none of this means that your probation won’t be revoked. If you are facing a potential probation violation, it’s important that you contact an attorney right away. The Minneapolis criminal defense attorneys at Leverson Budke, PLLP have helped many people avoid probation revocation. Contact us today to learn more.