You were fortunate to get probation when you were originally sentenced, but that could end suddenly if you are found guilty of violating the terms of your probation. Jail time is not a foregone conclusion, however, so you should not go down without a fight. The criminal defense team at Layton & Southard will stand by you and help you get the best possible outcome.
Probation Options in Missouri
When you were granted probation, you were essentially given a second chance by the court. At the discretion of the judge, first-time offenders and those facing less serious charges may be sentenced to probation rather than jail time. Depending on the circumstances of the crime and your criminal record, you could be given one of the following types of probation:
- Suspended Imposition of Sentence (SIS). In this type of probation, you will not be sentenced to time in jail unless you do not fulfill the terms of probation. SIS is usually unsupervised, meaning you do not have to report to a probation officer. If you successfully complete probation, you will not have a criminal record.
- Suspended Execution of Sentence (SES). With a suspended execution, you will be sentenced to jail time, but you will not have to begin serving the time unless you violate probation. SES is supervised probation, so you will have to report to a probation officer throughout the probation term. Even if you successfully complete probation, you will have a criminal record with SES probation.
How a violation of probation is handled will depend in part on which type of probation you are serving.
Common Probation Violations
You will be given very strict guidelines for your probation, and if you violate any of the terms, you could end up in jail. Some of the more common violations include the following:
- Failing a required drug test
- Failing to report to your probation officer
- Traveling out of state without permission from the court
- Failing to attend or complete a court-ordered drug or alcohol treatment program
- Not paying restitution, fines, or court fees
- Associating with people convicted of crimes
- Committing a new crime
If you are accused of violating probation, you will return to court for a hearing to determine if you did, in fact, violate probation, and to modify or revoke your probation.
Do Not Attend This Hearing Without an Attorney
Violating probation does not mean you will automatically go to jail. You do have a chance to defend yourself, and you can argue for consequences other than jail time. Your best chance of being successful at this is to hire an attorney to defend you. Whether Layton & Southard defended you in the original criminal trial or not, we can represent you at your probation violation hearing. Depending on the circumstances of your alleged probation violation, we might argue for:
- Reinstatement of your probation. If you were not guilty of violating probation, or your violation was minor, we can request that you continue probation as originally ordered.
- Adding time to your original probation. For minor violations, it might be possible to extend the original terms of your probation by a year or two.
- Placement in a drug or alcohol treatment facility. If your violation involved drugs or alcohol, a judge might be willing to place you in treatment rather than in jail.
- Placement under house arrest. You might be eligible for the Electronic Home Detention (EHD) program, which will keep you out of jail, but under more strict probation.
- Conversion of an SIS to an SES. If you are serving a suspended implementation sentence, the judge might agree to sentence you to jail time but suspend execution of the sentence, giving you one last chance at probation.
If you don’t hire a criminal defense attorney to represent you at your probation violation hearing, you will likely be sent to jail to complete the suspended sentence.
Everyone Makes Mistakes, But You Still Deserve a Strong Defense
Whatever you did to violate your probation—and especially if you are falsely accused!—you need the best defense attorney you can afford. From our Cape Girardeau and Perryville offices, the team at Layton & Southard serves clients throughout Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you find the best way to move forward with your case.