Probation is an option at sentencing, in which a Judge orders a defendant to be monitored by a Probation officer for a specific period of time. In most instances, a defendant is ordered to comply with certain conditions including, but not limited to, paying fines and costs, attending treatment programs, completing community service hours, and/or submitting to alcohol or drug testing.
Probation is granted by the presiding judge and is a sentence that allows the offender to reside in their community under the supervision of a probation officer. This decision is issued after careful study of the offender's background behavior, and potential for success.
A probation officer is an officer of the court who investigates, supervises and reports on the conduct of offenders (probationer) who are on probation. The probation officers are responsible for conducting pre-sentence investigations and alcohol assessments, as well as Probation Violation Hearings.
The purpose of Probation is to engage the offender in aggressive alternative programs available through the probation department and in the community that educates and rehabilitates certain eligible offenders at the time of sentencing. These programs are designed to specifically target and rehabilitate the probationer's violation behavior. The Probation Department provides both investigation and supervision services to the 48th Judicial District Court. The Department deals exclusively with individuals age 17 and over.
The probationer will be required to appear before the court for a "probation violation" hearing.
You have the right to provide evidence that you have complied with the judge's order. You also have the right to be represented by an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court may appoint one for you.
The burden of proof at a hearing is a "preponderance of the evidence" standard, where the prosecutor must show that it is more likely than not that the probationer violated the terms of his probation.
If a person is convicted of a probation violation, the court may revoke probation, impose incarceration or impose probation with additional conditions.
If you are ordered to appear before the court for a "show cause" hearing, you must appear before the judge on the date stated in the show cause order. If possible, you should bring with you to court all documents that support your position, such as receipts, canceled checks, or similar evidence that you can use to substantiate that you did obey the court's earlier order. If you do not attend the show cause hearing, the court may issue a bench warrant for your arrest. A failure to appear may cause the court to suspend your license.