Under Arkansas law, you can be sentenced to probation to avoid going to jail. If you are on probation, you want to make sure that you do everything you can to avoid a probation revocation. As you probably know, your probation can be revoked for many reasons, including failing drug tests, missing appointments with your probation officer, failure to complete treatment programs, or picking up a new criminal charge.
Once your probation officer decides to pursue a revocation, he or she will file a Petition for Revocation with the court. At that point, the court must hold a hearing on the petition for revocation within 60 days. There are a few things you need to know about this hearing:
- The court will tend to side with the probation officer.
- The State does not need to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Instead, the standard in a probation revocation is a “preponderance of the evidence,” which is much easier to meet.
- You can be represented by an attorney at your probation revocation hearing.
There are over 2,000 people who enter the Arkansas Department of Corrections each year because of a probation revocation. It is very important that you take it seriously or you may end up in jail, even for a little slip-up.
Having an attorney to handle your probation revocation gives you a huge advantage. The criminal defense lawyer will be able to cross-examine the probation officer. If it is clear that the PO just has it out for you, the lawyer can make this very clear to the judge.
A criminal defense lawyer will also be able to bring in other evidence of how you are doing. For instance, if you missed an appointment with your PO because you were doing something else that is productive, the lawyer can also make sure the judge hears this. You may have factors that make you look better to the judge and make your slip-up less of an issue.
A criminal defense lawyer also may be able to strike a deal with the prosecutor if your case doesn’t look good. As we all know, there are too many prisoners and not enough prisons. Ultimately, a prosecutor doesn’t really want to put someone behind bars who doesn’t belong there. A good lawyer will be much better able to negotiate and strike a bargain than you will.
If you are facing a probation revocation and have questions, please contact us. It is a serious matter and you need to know exactly what you’re up against.