Probation enables criminal defendants in Morris County and throughout New Jersey to avoid jail time, but only when certain conditions are met. If an offender is accused of violating these conditions, this prompts yet another legal problem: a Violation of Probation (VOP) hearing, the potential of being terminated from probation, and it can even lead to jail time and other penalties that may have been imposed in the original case that led to probation in the first place. If you have been accused of a probation violation in Morris County, New Jersey, it is vital to understand how probation violations work, what happens when a person is accused of violating the terms of their probation, and the process at violation of probation hearings. Knowing what to expect if you have an upcoming court appearance for an alleged VOP and getting help from a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer is the best way to position yourself for a favorable outcome. Our attorneys have defended countless clients facing probation violations in Morris County and across the state, including those accused in Parsippany, Morristown, Dover, Denville, Rockaway, Boonton, and surrounding areas. If you would like answers and dedicated legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney, contact us at (908) 336-5008 now.
What is Probation in New Jersey?
Probation is an alternative form of sentencing available in many New Jersey criminal cases that allows you to avoid going to jail. In lieu of jail time, however, you must comply with any and all conditions of probation as outlined at the time of sentencing. Notably, probation might not be available to those who have committed violent crimes or those who have multiple offenses on their criminal record. However, those charged with third and fourth degree crimes may be considered good candidates for a probation sentence.
Common Conditions of Probation in NJ
In New Jersey, there are 16 general conditions of probation that most people who qualify for this form of punishment will be subject to; however, judges also have individual discretion to determine if any of these should be removed or if additional conditions should apply in your case. A violation of any one condition is taken seriously, so it is in your best interest to fully understand these conditions and avoid violations of any one of them. Violations could lead to the original jail time associated with the crime in addition to other consequences.
The general conditions of probation that can be expected include:
- No drug possession
- Regularly reporting to your probation officer
- No gun or weapons possession
- No commission of any other crimes
- No fraternizing with other people who are known to be criminals
- No leaving the state of New Jersey during your probationary period
- You must be productive with your time out of jail, such as remaining gainfully employed
- You must avoid excessive use of alcohol and driving under the influence
- You must notify your probation officer immediately if you are arrested.
What Happens if Accused of Violating Probation in NJ?
Probation officers in New Jersey are responsible for handling alleged violations of probation. The process typically begins with the probation officer filing a Violation of Probation complaint within the relevant court. The officer must list which violation or set of violations occurred at that time. A court hearing will be scheduled if a probation officer files this kind of complaint and a warrant for your arrest will be issued if you fail to appear at this court hearing.
During the hearing, the judge hears from the probation officer as well as the accused to determine if a violation did occur. If the judge finds that a violation did not happen, you will most likely be allowed to leave with a warning. However, if the judge finds that a violation did happen, a penalty can be imposed on you immediately. The penalty will depend on the severity of the violation in question. The judge might determine that your existing probationary period should be extended with new conditions or the judge could find that your existing probation period should be extended for a specified period of time with the same conditions.
Finally, the judge has the option to re-sentence you with the time associated with the original criminal offense involved in your case. Even if a plea deal was in place, the judge maintains discretion to leverage this option. New jail time might also apply if the violation has to do with the commission of a new crime. With so many possibilities, it is critical to recognize the importance of a claim of probation violation and to respond appropriately by enlisting a criminal defense attorney’s support and representation.
Morris County Probation Violation Attorney Needed
If you have been accused of violating the terms of your probation, time is of the essence. Since the court is likely to view this as a disregard for probation terms, it’s up to you to mount a compelling defense to ensure that the judge hears all of the facts in your probation violation case. Don’t go into the VOP hearing by yourself. Find an experienced probation violation defense lawyer who can help you present your side of the story in this important court hearing. If the hearing goes well, you can continue your probation as it is and move on with your life. To discuss your case with a lawyer who can advise and assist you, contact our local office in Morristown at (908) 336-5008 today.