Experienced criminal defense Attorney defends against charges of violation of probation in all New Jersey Courts.
STEPHEN A. GRAVATT, ESQ.
What conduct constitutes violation of probation?
Upon a finding of guilt to one or more criminal offenses, an accused defendant’s status changes from one accused of an offense (and therefore entitled to Constitutional safeguards) to one found guilty of a violation of a criminal offense (and therefore subject to the imposition of sentencing guidelines).
That distinction is profound. On sentencing, the judge, in his discretion, must decide what punishment is appropriate to impose. Typically, this involves a choice of whether to impose a term of incarceration, i.e., jail time, or whether it is in everyone’s interest to impose probation in lieu of jail time. As a violation of probation defense Attorney, I always strive to obtain the imposition of noncustodial probation instead of jail for my clientst.
If you have been found guilty of, or plead guilty to, a 4th degree crime (normally punishable by imposition of jail sentence of not less than 12 months and not more than 18 months) or to a 3rd degree crime (normally punishable by imposition of a jail sentence of not less than 3 years and not more than 5 years), the judge may sentence you to noncustodial probation instead of jail time. As a violation of probation defense Attorney I believe that probation represents a huge benefit to anybody found guilty ofa crime.
What that means is that if a Superior Court Judge decides not to impose jail time but impose noncustodial probation instead, certain Terms and Conditions of probation will also be imposed. The defendant must comply with those terms and conditions or he or she will be in violation of probation.
What are “Terms and Conditions of Probation”?
Typically, terms and conditions of probation provide that the defendant must (do things like)
1. Report to his or probation officer as directed;
2. Remain or become employed;
3. Continue to participate in drug treatment and/or psychiatric counseling, give random urines for monitoring, etc..;
4. (Refrain from doing things like) commit any new criminal charges, not continue to possess or use drugs that are not prescribed by a physician, and so forth.
VIOLATION OF PROBATION means that the defendant did not do that which he was Ordered to do, or conversely, did commit a new violation of the Law.
What are the consequences to me if a court determines that I violated probation?
Upon a determination by the probation officer that defendant has violated the terms and conditions of probation, a complaint is filed by the prosecutor with the court and a hearing is held to determine the nature and extent of the defendant’s conduct and whether or not the judge should revoke probation and impose incarceration or conversely whether probation should be continued for an extended term. if probation is terminated and incarceration (jail time) is imposed, defendant is entitled to no credit for time served during probation.
Do I have any possible defenses to revocation of probation?
Yes. In my approximately 29 years as a violation of probation defense Attorney, I have successfully defended many individuals charged with violation of probation. I have helped many people avoid jail time for violation of probation.
A defendant accused of vop is entitled to a plenary hearing to determine whether a vop has occurred and what the appropriate remedy should be. Under State v. Baylass, 114 n.J. 169 (1989), the judge can elect to revoke probation and impose jail time without any credit for time served on probation, oe elect to extend the term of probation.
Oftentimes the court’s analysis focuses on the recommendations of the defendant’s probation officer and whether defendant is a good candidate for continued probation. Are you dangerous to the public? Are you generally compliant with the terms and conditions? Is it likely that you will ultimately come into compliance, and so forth.
Below is a copy of the actual Statute:
Summons or arrest of defendant under suspended sentence or probation; commitment without bail; revocation and resentence—N.J.S.A. 2C:45-3
a. “At any time before the discharge of the defendant or the termination of the period of suspension or probation:
(1) The court may summons the defendant to appear before it or may issue a
warrant for his arrest;
(2) A probation officer or peace officer, upon request of the chief probation
officer, or otherwise having probable cause to believe that the defendant has failed to comply with a requirement imposed as a condition of the order or that he has committed another offense, may arrest him without a warrant;
(3) The court, if there is probable cause to believe that the defendant has
committed another offense or if he has been held to answer therefore, may
commit him without bail, pending a determination of the charge by the court having jurisdiction thereof;
(4) The court, if satisfied that the defendant has inexcusably failed to comply
with a substantial requirement imposed as a condition of the order or if he has been convicted of another offense, may revoke the suspension or probation and sentence or resentence the defendant, as provided in this section. No revocation of suspension or probation shall be based on failure to pay a fine or make restitution, unless the failure was willful.
b. When the court revokes a suspension or probation, it may impose on the
defendant any sentence that might have been imposed originally for the offense of
which he was convicted.
c. The commencement of a probation revocation proceeding shall toll the
probationary period until termination of such proceedings. In the event that the court does not find a violation of probation, this subsection shall not operate to toll the probationary period.”
2C:45-3 Probation NJ
Notice and hearing on revocation or modification of conditions of suspension or probation—N.J.S.A. 2C:45-4
“The court shall not revoke a suspension of sentence or probation or delete, add or modify conditions of probation except after a hearing upon written notice to the defendant of the grounds on which such action is proposed. The defendant shall have the right to hear and controvert the evidence against him, to offer evidence in his defense, and to be represented by counsel.”
I have been a violation of probation defense Attorney in New Jersey for approximately 29 years. I have helped many clients successfully avoid jail time for VOP. If you or somebody you know is facing a VOP, please contact me for competent representation.
STEPHEN A. GRAVATT, ESQ.