Protecting Yourself While On Colorado Probation – Some Tips
Protecting Yourself While On Colorado Probation Means…
Protecting yourself while on probation means being organized and smart. The probation officer is not your friend. They have a tough job to do – so making their lives easy makes good sense. Furthermore, they may, and often do, change often which means you will most likely will never forge a close and trusting relationship as when that ebgins to happen – another PO takes your present PO’s position. This can be very frustrsting..
Advice From An Experienced Former Colorado Prosecutor – Now Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer
Document -Document – Document
While it may seem contrary to common sense – the probation officer is NOT on your side. If something goes wrong – it will be your word against the probation officer’s word. If that issue goes to a hearing before a judge – you will lose.
On the other hand – if you have documentation for everything you do – certified letters, documented cell phone calls, personal visits to the Probation Office where you have signed in and the time frame you were there is documented, you stand a good chance of winning the credibility battle.
If You Have been In Custody And Are Being Released From Jail And Onto Probation – Upon Your Release From Jail
1. Call your probation officer as soon as you are released or as soon as the probation office opens.
2. Use a cell phone or other phone where you have access to the phone records if needed in court.
3. Call every day until you reach the probation officer. If that doesn’t work, then after 3 days . . .ask to speak to your probation officer’s supervisor. If you speak to the supervisor, be polite and state your name, the reason for your call (need to report ASAP and PO will not return your calls), and desired result (an appointment). If you are unable to reach the supervisor, then . . .
4. Send a letter via US Postal service to your probation officer requesting an appointment. Send copies of the letter to the judge and the State Probation office. If you are on some sort of private probation, send it to the main office of the private probation company. All Letters Should Be Sent Certified Mail with Return Receipt Requested!
5. Avoid ANY alcohol or drugs before your first appointment.
Stay Organized And Create Your Probation File
The kinds of documents you need when you are on probation require that you stay organized.
Keep your initial probation paperwork, proof of payment, all verification of community service you have performed, copies of your pay stubs, proof of completion or even just updates on any required treatment or classes you must attend, and any other correspondence related to your probation.
Keep all of this in one location – one folder. Probation officers tend to be compulsive about paperwork – if they don’t have it – it does NOT EXIST. Tender every scrap of paper to your PO and always, always, always keep copies in your personal folder.
Dealing With The Difficult Probation Officer
Probation officers are nearly always very competent and will use common sense. Once in a while – they get a little aggressive and interpret their role as the punishment, not the rehabilitation of the offender. Some are just plain mean.
If you have been assigned a difficult PO – your options may be limited. Here are a few suggestions:
- Remain Polite – try not to get defensive or use abusive language. PO’s have tremendous authority and discretion. They can make things very easy or very difficult for you.
- Clearly Communicate Your Concerns and Expectations.
- Document Everything – Keep good notes. As soon as you are finished with a meeting, write down the date, time, and everything that was said.
- If You Can’t Communicate and Are In Trouble – Send a certified letter to the PO – return receipt requested. Keep a copy of the letter and the returned receipt.
- Request A New PO – If all else fails – and there is no resolution of critically important issues – set up an appointment with the PO supervisor to discuss transferring your case to a different PO.
- In The Meantime – Never Stop Complying With The Terms And Conditions Of Probation! -You must always be 100 percent compliant with all conditions and requests of the probation officer while trying to resolve all other issues. If you “challenge” your PO – you have to win. You cannot win and start from a losing position if you have not complied in all ways possible with the terms and conditions of probation.
Study The “Rules of Probation” From The Very Beginning
At the time you first meet with your probation officer, you are given what is referred to as your written terms and conditions of probation. Many do not read the whole or even part of this important document. The rules of probation – which you will sign and agree to – require much of you – and you will need to carefully read these rules paying close attention to any additional conditions the judge may have ordered in YOUR case.
You WILL have questions about some of these rules. Make careful notes and either then and there – or later – ask your probation officer these questions.
Start planning how you will meet the different requirements such as:
a. AA/NA, etc. meetings
b. Required treatment programs
c. Public service work
d. Finding a job
e. Payment of fines, court costs, and restitution
f. Providing DNA samples
g. Registering as a sex offender
h. Any other condition not mentioned here
You Need To Follow The Terms and Conditions Of Probation
If you are trying – and failing – probation officers will usually work with you. That is especially true if they perceive you are truly putting forth a real effort. No matter what, you have to do SOMETHING to work toward meeting your obligations.
You Are Not The Victim of The “System” Get Rid of the Victim Mentality
Lose a bad attitude – you are not a victim… Nothing kills a trust relationship with your PO more quickly than having an attitude.
When you see s a victim – everything is about you. You perceive you – and only you – are being treated unfairly and the PO is “out to get you.”
If you take the time to redirect the focus on your tasks… and to stop focusing on what is “happening” to you life begins to get better. Focus on what YOU are doing and not what is being done to you.
The victim mentality is extremely self-destructive. Blaming others for your situation has a tendency to insure your own self destruction. Make a decision to hold yourself accountable and to take responsibility for your life.
Don’t’ Procrastinate – It Could Mean A Jail Sentence
When it comes to supervised probation procrastination is very dangerous. You must complete your tasks on time – turn in the required paperwork on time – meet with and contact your PO on time. If you do – you will complete the conditions of your probation ON TIME.
If ever there was a time not to procrastinate, this is it.
Protecting Yourself While On Colorado Probation
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: H. Michael Steinberg – Email The Author – A Denver Colorado Probation Violation Criminal Defense Lawyer – or call his office at 303-627-7777 during business hours – or call his cell if you cannot wait and need his immediate assistance – 720-220-2277.
If you are charged with A Colorado crime or you have questions about Protecting Yourself While On Colorado Probation, please call our office. The Law Offices of H. Michael Steinberg, in Denver, Colorado, provide criminal defense clients with effective, efficient, intelligent and strong legal advocacy. We can educate you and help you navigate the stressful and complex legal process related to your criminal defense issue.
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