3rd Time Violating Probation Avoids Jail
Our firm was retained by a client that had like so many others, fallen victim to the heroin epidemic that has been plaguing New Jersey for the better part of the last decade. By the time the client had retained us he had already failed out of the Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI), spent months in the Somerset County jail pending violations after violations of probation and had picked up new drug charge in Passaic County.
Prior to hiring our firm, the client was originally placed into the PTI program back in 2013 for a possession of heroin charge. After testing positive, failing to report and failing to pay his fines, the client was taken into custody where he remained until his violation of probation hearing. The client was again given another chance on probation and was released, however, that was short lived. The Defendant again violated probation and this time he went on the run. By the time the client had come to our office he was able to clean up his life and has actually clean and sober for almost seven months. However, the client’s past was still lingering around. By this point he had three separate active arrest warrants from three different courts. Our office new this was going to be an uphill battle. Although the courts are glad to see individuals clean up their lives, they will not just turn a blind eye and this client had already burned them numerous times in the past. One of the major problems with this case, is that no matter where our client surrendered too, even if our office was able to convince the Judge to lift that bench warrant, he would be forced to be detained on one of the other two bench warrants. So we had to make sure that we could get two of the warrants lifted prior to surrendering the client.
When we surrendered our client to the Somerset County courthouse, the client was taken into custody and our office was told we would get a violation of probation date within a couple of weeks and that the Defendant would be detained in the Somerset County jail until then. Knowing that was not acceptable to our client and knowing the damage that that this could do to his recovery, Mr. Oliver requested that his client be brought in front of a Judge so that he could be heard on bail. The court finally agreed and by the afternoon the case was listed. Mr. Oliver knew it was going to be an uphill battle to convince the Judge, the prosecution and the probation department to release his client, who was a fugitive from justice for over a year and who was told the last time he was in court that this was his last chance. After about three hours of going back and forth on the record and in chambers, Mr. Oliver was not only able to convince them to release his client but also to successfully terminate him from probation. By doing so, this allowed for his client to return back to the state that he now called home and continue on the path to recover. The other open case in Passaic County has since been resolved and the client is expected to receive a probationary sentence their and the other active warrant was recalled with the client having to appear in court and the case was dismissed.
How Serious Do Judges Take Violation of Probations Offenses?
Violation of probations can be very difficult to deal with as these are normally the “last chance” to avoid a prison sentence for most Defendants. On top of that, it is well know throughout the profession that judge’s tend to take these types of cases very seriously because in essence, the Defendant is directly violating the terms that the judge had imposed. Furthermore, when it comes to violations of probations, the standard of proof is much different than that of a typical criminal case. In violation of probation hearings, the standard of proof is by a preponderance of the evidence. This is a much lesser standard then beyond a reasonable doubt and when it comes to a violation of probation cases, the judge has the ability to sentence a Defendant to a term of incarceration equally to that of the original charges. So, for example, in this case, the Defendant plead guilty to a third degree possession of heroin charge. Under the law, the Defendant was originally facing a prison term anywhere from three to five years. So the judge had the ability and in this case wanted to, send the Defendant to prison for five years. For more information on violations of probation, please contact our Bridgewater office at 908-583-1064.
Somerset County NJ Probation Violation Lawyer
Keith Oliver Criminal Law fully understands how quickly an addiction can take over someone’s life. We have dealt with some many cases that are just like the case we shared above. The courts takes these cases very seriously and do not simply take the approach that since the Defendant is now clean and sober all is forgotten. If you are facing a violation of probation hearing in Somerset or Hunterdon County, it is crucial that you speak to an attorney that has experience dealing with this type of case as they are usually very complex. If you would like to speak to one of our Somerset County criminal defense attorneys today, then please contact us at 908-583-1064 or leave us an email. We serve all of Somerset and Hunterdon County, including Bridgewater, Bound Brook, Clinton, Readington, Franklin, Somerville, Flemington, Hillsborough, Manville and Green Brook.
State v. J.T. (October 2017)