What is a Probation Violation?

Many charged crimes end with convictions. After a person pleads guilty, it is more likely than not that s/he is placed on probation for at least one year. Within that time, the probationer must abide by certain rules and regulations, like: remaining law abiding and of good behavior; committing no same or similar offenses to the original conviction; completing a chemical dependency evaluation; and reporting any changes in address and employment.

When a probationer breaks one of those rules, his/her probation agent may file a probation violation report and ask the judge to issue a warrant or summons. If that happens, the probationer has certain rights, which are outlined in Rule 27 of the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure. This is available for anybody to view here.

These rights include the right to:

  1. A judicial review of the allegations before issuing a warrant or summons;
  2. A first appearance; and
  3. A revocation hearing.
According to Rule 27, subdivision 1 of the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure, a probation agent must submit a report to the court for judicial review before initiating any probation violation proceedings. If the report contains facts sufficient to establish probable cause to believe a probation violation occurred, then the judge must issue a summons—unless the judge believes a warrant is necessary to secure the probationer’s appearance or prevent harm to the probationer or another.
According to Rule 27, subdivision 2 of the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure, a probationer is entitled to a first appearance. The purpose of the first appearance is to explain the allegations against the probationer, explain the probationer’s rights, and give the probationer the opportunity to demand a revocation hearing. If the probationer is in custody and cannot afford bail, the revocation hearing must be held within seven (7) days. If the probationer is out of custody, then the revocation hearing must be held within a reasonable time.

A probationer is presumed innocent of any probation violation until proven guilty by clear and convincing evidence. According to Rule 27, subdivision 3 of the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure, the probationer is entitled to a hearing where the State bears the burden of proof to show the probationer violated the terms of his/her probation. After the hearing concludes, the judge decides whether the State met its burden. Specifically, the judge either concludes:

  1. No violation occurred; or
  2. The probationer violated his/her probationary term(s).

If the judge decides no violation occurred, then the probationer is free to leave on the original terms of his/her probation—unless probation expired. If the judge determines the probationer violated his/her probationary term(s), then the judge may impose a part of or execute the remaining jail sentence.

A probation violation can be a long and strenuous process for a person to fight. Finding a Minnesota criminal lawyer to fight aggressively against any probation violation allegations is crucial to keep a probationer out of jail. One of the best defense strategies to a probation violation is forcing the State to prove a violation occurred. Specifically, the State must show the probationer willfully and voluntarily violated the terms of his/her probation—an increasingly difficult task when an attorney fights for your rights.

Without a Minnesota criminal defense lawyer, a judge could easily execute days, months, or years of jail time. When you’re charged with burglary, don’t take a risk with your defense. Hire the right defense attorney who understands the system and isn’t afraid to fight for your rights.

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