Colorado Criminal Defense

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Colorado Probation Violations

Many people want to be on probation. Not all of those on probation succeed.

Unless you comply with the terms and conditions of probation, you may find yourself one day facing a VOP - Violation of Probation.

It is easier to violate probation than one might think There are two basic types of violations: (1) "technical" violations; and (2) new case violations.

Technical violations occur when a person fails to obey the Court's or his Probation Officer's orders. From example, failure to pay costs, failure to report, failure to take classes, and failure to pay restitution are all technical violations.

But do not be fooled - there is nothing technical about the consequences of these failures. You will be facing a real problem if you fail to comply with these technicalities! And, you can be violated for these technicals without a jury and on less evidence than you would expect.

In fact, to find a person guilty of violating probation, the judge need only decide the case on the burden of proof called "preponderance of evidence". Thus, if the judge believes that the person probably did what probation says he did to violate probation, then the judge will find him guilty. Because the burden of proof with respect to VOPs is so low, and because the judge is the finder of facts, the judge's decision in a VOP hearing is realistically almost unappealable.

A good criminal defense lawyer can sometimes help people faced with such technical VOP's. He can help explain to the judge (there are no juries with VOP's, just judges at hearings) why you were unable to comply and seek leniency in resentencing. Sometimes, he can get you back on probation.

Hiring a good criminal lawyer may mean the difference between a lengthy prison sentence and your freedom.

New Case Violations

When you are facing a revocation of probation because you have received a new criminal charge while on probation, you cannot be revoked unless you plead guilty in the new case, or have been found guilty by a jury. Therefore, it is especially important to avoid a conviction in the new case, since it exposes you to a sentence to jail in both cases. Many times, a client must go to trial in the new case in order to avoid a probation revocation. In other instances, your attorney may be able to negotiate a resolution that avoids punishment, or a revocation altogether.