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Successfully Defending A Colorado Probation Violation Charge

By Colorado Probation Violation Criminal Defense Lawyer – Attorney – H. Michael Steinberg

Successfully Defending A Colorado Probation Violation Charge means NOT going to friends and family for advice – and NOT following your instincts. The best way to successfully defend a impending probation violation is to build a trusting and good faith relationship with your probation officer or the judge if you are not on supervised probation.

Successfully Defending A Colorado Probation Violation Charge

Successfully Defending A Colorado Probation Violation Charge

The Consequences Of Your Probation Violation Case Depends On You

The consequences of a violation of your probation can run the gamut from a “second chance”  “revoke and reinstate,” to incarceration – that is the lifting and then imposition of a suspended jail or prison sentence.

Usually the sentencing judges listen to two people in the courtroom before you – the probation officer’s opinion of how you have done on probation and then the DA – or prosecutor as to what the punishment should be if you are convicted of the probation violation.

Since you have few if any rights left after you have pled guilty to the underlying charges – the Judge in a Colorado Probation Violation Case has very wide discretion with your re-sentencing for your Colorado probation violation.

Successfully Defending A Colorado Probation Violation Charge – Revocation Of A Diversion or Deferred Judgement and Sentence Agreement

One type of probation is known as Adult or Juvenile Diversion or a Deferred Judgement and Sentence. If you are in a diversion program or on a deferred judgement and sentence – you have not yet been sentenced. If you have been found to have violated this agreement – depending on the nature of the agreement – different things happen.

1. Diversion – If you have been placed in a Diversion Program – you have not yet entered a guilty plea. The DA – prosecutor must then proceed to take you to trial on the original charges. If you are convicted at trial or you take another plea bargain – you would most likely be eligible for “standard” probation if the conviction enters on the underlying charge.

2. Deferred Judgement and Sentence Programs – In this agreement – since you have already conditionally entered a plea of guilty, but the “ judgment” and “sentence” has been “deferred” (not yet entered) – a probation violation complaint triggers the entry of both as your agreement was based on a “conditional guilty plea” which you have now violated. The DA here is not required to prove that you’re guilty of the underlying charge. The judge – after the complaint to revoke is proven – IF it is – just proceeds to a sentencing hearing and may question – since you have violated your probation – whether you are a good candidate for continuing – or reinstating  probation.

Sometimes – a Good Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer can intervene in both of these instances to persuade the Probation Officer and the DA – based on your unique circumstances – to give you another chance to avoid the need for a trial (if on diversion) or the entry of the conviction (if on a deferred judgment and sentence – in both situations.

“Re-Packaging” Or – Marketing The Probationer Facing A Colorado Probation Violation Complaint

Probation Officers – Judges and prosecutors begin with an impression of who you are based on what you have done.  If you are to be successful on probation – you must convince these individuals that you are not the sum total of the person who appears in the police reports. I call this repackaging.  The lifestyle factors that led to your ending up in criminal court must be changed or to least appear to have been changed.

Sometimes it is immaturity, sometimes addiction, sometimes a “ bad” or “toxic” relationship has led to the criminal charges. The goal – no matter what the route to court – is to prove to those in power and authority that this is NOT who you are.  An allegation of a probation violation does exactly the opposite.

Unless you correct the image of who you have been – you are almost certainly heading toward a  violation of your probation and possibly very serious consequences.

To demonstrate to the Judge – when you are accused of a new probation violation – that he or she should “reinstate” your probation – your lawyer will need  to “re-package” the Judge’s previous preconceptions about who you really are. You need to persuade the Judge, the DA and the “PO” that you do not pose any further threats of violating the terms and conditions of your probation in the future.

How to do that? Well it depends on the nature of the case.

Successfully Defending A Colorado Probation Violation Charge – Colorado Drug and Alcohol Based Probation Violations

A “Hot UA” or other positive drug and or alcohol result is one of the most common violations of probation. Typically the Probation Officer (PO) will overlook the first couple of these – but if you continually fail a drug test by testing positive for an illegal drug or intoxicant the time will come for a frank discussion with your criminal defense attorney on the issue of addiction or addictive behavior.

Since lawyers are not experts in addiction – the best course of action is to send the client to a respected  drug and alcohol counselor for an assessment to determine whether there is a latent addiction. If the defendant does – in fact – suffer from an addiction and to drugs – then the argument to the Judge is that the positive drug screens are a symptom of the addiction and further – perhaps more intense – treatment is the most logical option.

The most attractive option is “inpatient rehab” but that option is usually only available to the most wealthy clients and is not possible for most middle and working-class families. Having the time away from work – family – or both – to attend an inpatient rehab program for 30 to 90 days is not realistic. In order to stay employed and or continue to care for children and family while addressing an addiction is difficult to say the least.

One on one or group therapy is the answer. Traditional drug and alcohol treatment combined with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings sends the kind of message to the PO – the DA – and the Judge that verifies the sincerity of the client’s commitment to change. If you are trying to demonstrate to the Court that perhaps you have violated your probation in the short term – in the long term  – you are taking your recovery seriously.

As a fall back – if this is not a situation of true addiction attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or Narcotics Anonymous meetings demonstrate the intention to gain the kind of education about drugs and alcohol that will impress a judge that the accused is serious in his or her goal of obtaining valuable life education by meeting with others who have become addicted to drugs and alcohol.

An Insult To The Dignity Of The Court – Contempt Of A Court Order In The Form Of A Probation Violation

An order of the Court is taken seriously by the judge and all others in the criminal justice system. By not following a court order and continuing to use drugs – judges – when they see a positive drug screen positive for marijuana, cocaine and other illegal drugs – (and in the absence of addiction)  – see this behavior as disrespecting – even contemptuous of the Court order and of the judge him or herself.

Repackaging this image – reinventing the defendant – may mean a new haircut, a new suit, the removal of piercings while in court if possible, and perhaps even a complete remake of a client’s “look” when he or she appears in court. Judges are human – and re-making the client to comport with what the judge feels is respectable may make the difference between jail and forgiveness and second chances.

Successfully Defending A Colorado Probation Violation Charge – Colorado Domestic Violence Probation Violations

Probation violations that result from new arrests for Domestic Violence – that may include protection order violations new assaults, telephone or other forms of harassment, such as incessant texting – require an analysis of the “health” of the relationship involved.

If the parties to a case of domestic violence will not end what may only be described as a  “toxic” relationship and are not interested in ending the relationship – then the authorities in a probation violation negotiation will be looking for the appropriate anger management or domestic violence based therapy. Batterers intervention programs for the batterer or the victim are also good alternatives .

Judge’s will NOT reinstate probation without first addressing the issues problem that originally led to the charge and the probation violation.

Colorado Terms and Conditions “Technical” Probation Violations

Missing appointments, failing to call in, missed curfews – and the like – are all examples of technical probation violations.  Here the violation of probation by simply failing to appear to meet with their probation officer is – well – just stupid, and is the most common basis for a violation of probation.

Failing a drug screen is somewhat understandable – but refusing to meet with the PO because of the drug screen requirement more than compounds the problem. If you walk into your PO’s office and admit that you used an illegal drug last weekend, and will probably test positive – you will be treated with much more compassion from the PO and later – the judge.

If you simply refuse to even appear for your probation meeting and compel the need for an arrest warrant – and precious time away from their jobs by the local police and – or sheriff’s department to track you down – only makes matters worse. This type of violation arises out of a lack of maturity in the defendant – which is how the judge will view it.

Successfully Defending A Colorado Probation Violation Charge – Colorado Juvenile Court – Juvenile Offender Probation Violations

With the youthful offender – the courts are MUCH more sympathetic -and yes – lenient with juveniles who make mistakes while on probation.  Because of a lack of maturity – young people are expected to make mistakes and those mistakes become a vehicle for learning.  Second – third – even fourth time opportunities to address violations are not unusual. 

Courts in juvenile cases are searching for a child that has learned from his or her situation. Turning around grades, clean drug or alcohol test, volunteering in the community, cooperation in the process of probation, applying for as many jobs as possible, community college or a university applications  – ALL establish the kind of responsible conduct that scores well in the juvenile justice system.

Successfully Defending A Colorado Probation Violation Charge – Colorado Probation Violations Tied To Mental Health Issues

Mental illness impairs the ability of the probationer to be successful and compliant with the terms and conditions of probation leading to feelings of powerlessness and sometimes – self destruction. 

Supervised probation which may include such things as anger management classes, drug and alcohol counseling, and community service, require the kind of self discipline and self control difficult to muster bu one suffering from mental illness. Expecting a person suffering from depression or other mental illness to successfully complete such tasks without help sets the probationer up for failure.

A mental health evaluation followed by an individualized mental health treatment plan should be presented to the Court to demonstrate to the judge how these complex tasks can be performed. With the advent of mental health courts – a new sensitivity and compassion has emerged in the criminal justice system that has created a new approach and understanding that assists today’s Colorado criminal defense lawyer with making persuasive arguments targeted at assisting the Court with alternatives to the entry of convictions and possible incarceration in jail or prison.

If you have been charged with a Colorado probation violation or you believe that a probation violation complaint is about to be filed or that a warrant may be issued soon, please feel free to contact me at my office 303-627-7777 or my cell (24-7) 720-220-2277.

Successfully Defending A Colorado Probation Violation Charge

Denver Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer

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.

H. Michael Steinberg, is a Denver, Colorado criminal defense lawyer who will provide you with a free initial case consultation to evaluate your legal issues and to answer your questions with an honest assessment of your options.

Helping Clients To Make Informed Decisions In the Defense of Colorado Criminal Cases. Colorado Defense Lawyer H. Michael Steinberg provides solid criminal defenses for clients throughout the Front Range of Colorado – including the City and County courts of Adams County, Arapahoe County, City and County of Boulder, City and County of Broomfield, City and County of Denver, Douglas County, El Paso County – Colorado Springs, Gilpin County, Jefferson County, Larimer County, and Weld County,…. and all the other cities and counties of Colorado along the I-25 Corridor… on cases involving …Successfully Defending A Colorado Probation Violation Charge.



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___________________________
H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
Colorado Criminal Law For Over 30 Years.
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