Under the normal justice process, either for a misdemeanor or felony, the party is charged in an arraignment and, after a number of procedural hearings and if there is no plea bargain agreement, there is a trial. This is the basic path for due process when charged with a crime. However, probation is a very different world, and this is an important distinction for someone to understand if they are about to be on probation or are under such status now.
The probation process is an extension of sentencing and incarceration. A court can decide how to apply probation in a number of ways. A convicted person can be put on probation from the start of sentencing as a bit of a second chance to get straight, or the court can sentence a person right into jail or prison for a time and then put the person on probation afterwards as an extension of the sentence (i.e. two years in prison and two years on probation, for example). During this probation period, the state has the ability and power to monitor, check on, and verify the status of the convicted person to ensure he or she is following the conditions of probation. Conditions are defined by the court and can range from work hours, locations of living and presence, to assigned community service and reporting back to jail at night while working in the day, for example. Each case is different, and a probation officer is assigned to manage a person’s case as well as their monitoring.
A probation violation occurs when a person allegedly violates a probation condition. He or she, by the determination of the probation officer or a peace officer, can be immediately arrested to be brought back to court with the violation reported. Unlike a criminal charge, there is no hearing and trial process. Probation violation hearings are very quick comparatively, and a person can find himself back in jail or prison under a harsher sentence very quickly.
Because of how fast a probation violation decision can occur, it is critical to get a legal defense involved immediately. The Arizona Legal Practice Group serves the greater Maricopa County area as experienced defense counsel in all types of criminal cases, including probation hearings and appeals. Experience matters, especially in understanding how fast the justice system works on probationers. Don’t assume time is on your side; get a good probation violation defense immediately with the Arizona Legal Practice Group.