Lexington Probation Violation Lawyer
Accused of violating your probation in Lexington or Columbia, SC
Many people are happy to see criminal charges resolved through a probationary sentence, only to have their cases return later to court based on violations. When an individual is placed on probation, it is because some portion of their original sentence has been suspended dependent upon successful completion of the probation. When someone is charged with violating the terms of their probation, they are at risk of having the entire suspended portion of their original sentence reinstated, which frequently results in a commitment to the South Carolina Department of Corrections.
These hearings are typically quick, and left unchallenged they provide a summary proceeding for the state to directly imprison the defendant with seemingly little opportunity to explain themselves. Obtaining quality legal services at the onset of a violation matter can make the difference between a prison sentence and a second chance.
Defendants charged with violating the terms or conditions of probation do not have the same rights that they did during their original case. This is because they have already either plead guilty or been convicted to an underlying offense. For example in a probation violation you do not have a right to a trial by jury. This however does not mean that someone accused of a violation has no rights, and there are available legal strategies that can help challenge false or unfair accusations.
Common Probation Violations
Some examples of typical probation violations include:
- Failure to check in with the probation officer as ordered
- Failure to pay probation fees or restitution as ordered
- Testing positive for drugs or alcohol
- Being arrested or convicted for a new offense
- Making contact with the victim of their prior case
For example, if a defendant was sentenced to 15 years as part of a plea, but the sentence was suspended upon completion of three years' probation, he or she could actually be sent to the Department of Corrections for up to 15 years after violating their probation by being rearrested for a minor offense, or failing a single drug test.
Probation Revocation Hearings
Lexington Probation Violation Lawyer
Accused of violating your probation in Lexington or Columbia, SC?
Probation revocation hearings are held in the court of General Sessions. The state is typically represented by a probation officer although sometimes the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services will send an actual attorney for a contested hearing. Probation revocation hearings may either proceed in a summary type proceeding, typical to the court's taking of a guilty plea, or they may have a fully comprehensive evidentiary hearing.
The attorneys of the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC represent those charged with probation violations at their probation revocation hearing by obtaining copies of the violation warrant and all other available documents and speaking with the defendant's probation officer. After a review of the violation warrant, and an interview with the probation officer, it may be possible to determine if the court will simply maintain the defendant on probation, order an intermediate sanction such as community service or a fine, or if the defendant is likely to risk an actual revocation of their suspended sentence and be remitted to the South Carolina Department of Corrections to serve out the revoked sentence.
In cases where the allegations against our client can be challenged (such as a client is accused of contacting the victim of their last case) an evidentiary hearing can be an effective strategy. Unless the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services can prove the case in Court the violation will be dismissed.
We represent clients in all probation violation matters, including those on heightened sexual registry probation.
Take Action to Defend Your Rights
Need an experienced probation violation lawyer in Lexington, South Carolina? It is important for all defendants accused of violating their probation to retain the services of an attorney who is knowledgeable with probation revocation law and procedures to assist them. In addition to actual attendance at the hearing, it is important to ensure that the hearing is conducted properly to preserve the defendant's right to an appeal if necessary, and to also assist in securing any character witnesses or affidavits that the court should consider. If you or a loved one is charged with a probation violation, then you should obtain the services of a Lexington criminal attorney immediately. Contact our firm immediately for a free consultation to discuss your case and learn more about how we can help.