If you’ve been charged with violating probation in Atlantic City or elsewhere in Atlantic County, you face serious consequences. Depending on the severity of the alleged violation, you could even be sent back to jail or prison to serve the remainder of your original sentence. When your hard-earned freedom is on the line, you can’t afford to face the prosecution on your own. You need dedicated legal support from a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer, like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych.
Our legal team brings more than 45 years of experience to each and every case we handle. We will draw on our thorough knowledge and understanding of New Jersey’s criminal justice system to counsel and guide you through each and every step of the legal process, protect your Constitutional rights and liberties, and challenge the evidence presented by your probation officer. We take an aggressive yet strategic approach to defending our clients’ freedoms, and will fight tirelessly in pursuit of a favorable outcome for you.
To schedule a free, completely confidential legal consultation, call our probation violation lawyers at (609) 616-4956 any time of day or night, including weekends. You will not be charged any fees, and we will always keep your information private. Se habla español.
How Does Probation Work in Atlantic City?
The court often imposes probation in place of a prison sentence. Generally, the defendant can be released as long as they adhere to the court’s conditions and restrictions. The conditions set by the court will likely relate to the nature of the defendant’s conviction. For example, a defendant convicted of a drug-related crime may be released on probation under the condition that they enter a drug treatment program and undergo random drug testing. A defendant convicted of a gun-related charge might get probation, but they may be prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm for a certain period of time.
Probation is usually preferable to a prison sentence because it allows the defendant to be at home with their loved ones. People on probation may also be allowed to continue working. Probation is also flexible, as the court may decide to change the terms of probation if necessary. A court can add more conditions, make existing requirements stricter, or remove conditions if they are overly burdensome. If a condition of probation proves to be overly restrictive to the point it inhibits the defendant from getting a job or supporting themselves, the defendant may request the court to alter the terms of the probation. Our Atlantic City lawyer for unsupervised probation violations can help you argue against any unfair terms.
How Do You Violate Probation in Atlantic City?
Probation is a privilege, not a right. In exchange for avoiding prison or jail time, probationers are expected to comply with a long list of rigid rules and requirements. Some common ways probation can be violated include the following:
- Failing to check in with your probation officer.
- Failing to follow curfews and other court orders.
- Failing a drug test, refusing to submit to a drug test, and/or tampering with the results of a urine test.
- Failing to abstain from drinking alcohol.
- Being arrested for a new crime while on probation, regardless of whether it is a misdemeanor (disorderly persons/petty disorderly persons) or felony (indictable) offense.
- Failing to pay all fees, fines, and restitution as ordered by the court.
- Failing to perform any mandatory community service.
- Failing to earn your G.E.D. and/or seek/maintain steady employment.
- Lying to your probation officer.
- Failing to report a change of address (residential or place of work) to your probation officer.
- Failing to support your dependents (e.g. making child support payments).
- Failing to avoid associations with other known criminal offenders.
- Possessing contraband or illegal items such as narcotics, firearms, or other dangerous weapons. You must surrender any gun permits to your probation officer, while any weapons you might own must be surrendered to law enforcement. This could also lead to drug charges or weapons charges.
- Failing to provide a DNA sample. (Note the DNA requirement applies only to persons convicted of felonies, or indictable crimes, such as sexual assault. You are exempt from the DNA requirement if you were convicted of a DP offense or petty DP offense.)
- Driving with a suspended license. This applies to all offenders whose licenses are suspended, not just people who were arrested for DWI in New Jersey.
What Happens if You’re Charged with a Probation Violation in Atlantic City?
If a probationer allegedly violates one of the many requirements enforced by the New Jersey Probation Division, there can be harsh legal consequences. Your probation may be extended or even revoked altogether, meaning you will have to return to jail or prison to serve additional time.
The process begins when your probation officer reports a suspected violation, typically involving one of the issues on the list supplied above (e.g. failure to check in or report a change of address). Once a violation has been reported, the court will schedule a violation of probation hearing or “VOP hearing” to review the allegations. Our criminal defense attorneys will represent you at your hearing and protect your legal rights from being violated.
At the VOP hearing, the judge will listen to testimony from your probation officer. You will also have the opportunity to present your own testimony and dispute the officer’s allegations. In many cases, the probation officer will recommend what he or she feels is an appropriate punishment to the judge. The judge will consider the probation officer’s recommendations, but will also weigh other factors such as the severity of the alleged violation, your history or prior offenses, and the nature of the underlying conviction which led to your probation.
Our probation violation attorneys will stand beside you and fight to have your alleged violation downgraded or dismissed completely. If your violation is minor, you can potentially avoid having your probation revoked in exchange for the imposition of stricter supervisory requirements. We know that probation officers can be unfairly biased or make errors of judgment, and we will scrutinize the accusations against you to uncover the truth.
What is the Difference Between Supervised and Unsupervised Probation in Atlantic City?
When placed on probation, it is expected that defendants must check in with a probation officer at regular intervals. The probation officer may also make unannounced visits to the probationer’s home. This type of probation is known as supervised probation and is used as a way to monitor the probationer and ensure they do not violate the terms of their probation. If the probationer is caught by their probation officer violating their probation terms, they can be taken back to court, and the judge may decide to send them to prison.
Unsupervised probation works very much like supervised probation, but the probationer does not need to report to a probation officer in person. While the probationer must comply with all the terms of their probation, they may communicate with their probation officer over the phone or by email instead of reporting in person or receiving unannounced visits. However, a violation of unsupervised probation may still result in being brought back to court and possibly being sent to prison. If you have violated the terms of your unsupervised probation, contact our Atlantic City lawyer for unsupervised probation violations as soon as possible.
How Long Will I Be on Unsupervised Probation for Criminal Charges in Atlantic City?
The length of your probation will depend on the nature of your case. However, the court is limited on how long it can impose a term of probation. Generally, the court cannot impose a period of probation that is longer than the original prison sentence would have been. So, if you could have been sentenced to 3 years in prison but received probation instead, you can only serve up to 3 years on probation. However, the court cannot impose a probation sentence in excess of 5 years.
If the time limit on your probation sentence has lapsed, you will be relieved of all conditions of your probation. However, suppose you failed to complete a necessary term of your probation, such as a treatment program or community service hours. In that case, the court may extend your probation until you have completed that term. Our Atlantic City lawyer for unsupervised probation violations can help you navigate this process and will ensure your terms are fair.
Penalties for Unsupervised Probation Violations in Atlantic City
Violating your probation, supervised or unsupervised, will result in severe and immediate consequences. If you violated your probation terms by mistake, or perhaps you feel your actions were justified or necessary, a skilled attorney will help you argue your case to a judge. A probationer who violates their probation terms will typically be arrested very quickly and without a warrant by their probation officer. The officer only needs probable cause to believe you violated your probation.
If you violated your probation by committing another crime, the judge might hold you in prison without bail until your new charges can be properly determined. If you did not commit a new crime but violated some other term of your probation, your probation may be revoked, and the judge may resentence you to a prison term.
Both your probation officer and the judge have some discretion in this area, so your case’s outcome will depend mostly on your unique circumstances. Willful and repeated violations are more likely to result in having your probation revoked. Accidental violations might receive a bit more leniency. You must speak to our Atlantic City lawyer for unsupervised probation violations attorney as soon as possible to know what kind of consequences you face for a probation violation.
Our Atlantic City Probation Violation Attorneys May Be Able to Help
If you have been charged with violating the terms of your probation, or you think you might have violated those terms but are not sure, you should call an attorney immediately. An attorney will help you stay out of prison and hopefully remain on probation until you can complete your sentence. Contact an Atlantic City lawyer for probation violations.
Probation revocation is a serious risk that demands immediate attention from a skilled and experienced defense lawyer. If you’ve been charged with breaking the rules of your probation in Atlantic City, let the attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych help you through this difficult time. To set up your free and private consultation, call us right away at (609) 616-4956.