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Probation Violations

If you’ve been accused of violating the terms of your probation, it is important that you speak to a qualified Massachusetts attorney. Attorney Sam Zaganjori is an experienced Woburn criminal defense attorney that has represented many clients charged with probation violations in District Court and Superior Court.

Probation Overview

Many criminal cases resolve with a period of probation. A judge may order that a defendant serve a probationary sentence, which can be in place of a jail sentence or can run after a jail sentence. A person on probation must typically meet a number of general conditions, such as payment of a probation supervision fee, and must refrain from being charged with any new crimes. The judge may also order special conditions of probation, such as drug and alcohol testing, counseling or the payment of restitution.

The conditions of probation ordered by the judge are monitored by a probation officer. If someone on probation violates their conditions, the probation officer will order him him appear before the court.

Probation Violation Process

If you have been accused of violating the conditions of your probation, you will be served with a Notice of Probation Violation and Hearing. The notice describes each alleged violation, and states the time and place for a hearing on the violation. The Court can issue an arrest warrant for a probation violation.

A probation detention hearing may be conducted prior to the violation hearing. At this hearing, the judge or magistrate will decide if probable cause exists to believe that the probationer has violated a condition of probation, and, if so, whether he or she should be held in custody pending the probation violation hearing. The probation officer has the burden of presenting evidence to show probable cause of a violation; the probationer has the opportunity to respond. If the person is not held in custody pending the violation hearing, the court can order that the person be released with conditions. If the court did not find probable cause of a violation, the court may either terminate the proceedings or schedule a probation violation hearing.

At the probation violation hearing, a judge will determine whether there has been a violation of probation, and, if so, what should be done. The probation officer has the burden of proving the alleged violation by a preponderance of the evidence, and the district attorney may help Probation at the hearing.

If the court finds that the probationer violated one of his or her conditions, the judge next must determine the proper outcome, or disposition. The probation officer and/or district attorney and the probationer may make an argument for an appropriate disposition. The court will consider these arguments, as well as other factors such as public safety and whether the probationer had any prior violations. The possible dispositions are: (i) continuance of probation with no modifications; (ii) termination, where the court ends the probation order; (iii) modification, where the court can change the conditions or probation, including by adding conditions or extending the time on probation; or (iv) revocation, where the person’s probation is revoked and they are ordered to serve a sentence of incarceration.

Contact a Woburn Probation Attorney

Attorney Zaganjori has successfully represented clients accused of violating their probation. If you have been charged with violating your probation conditions, it is important to have an experienced and aggressive attorney with you in court. Call Attorney Sam Zaganjori at 781-496-2848.