Probation is a valuable tool within the criminal justice system in Oklahoma. Probation can occur in a number of settings and contexts, but at its core, probation is a way to release a defendant into society either early or to avoid jail altogether in exchange for that person’s agreement to satisfy certain conditions during the probationary period. However, probation violations in Oklahoma can and do occur. Here is what you need to know.
The Types Of Probation Violations In Oklahoma
Plea bargains involve having a defendant plead guilty to a lesser crime. Probation is often included in the agreement struck between the District Attorney and the defendant’s attorney. A plea bargain creates a criminal record, but may keep the defendant out of jail.
In a deferred sentence, the defendant is not actually convicted as long as they comply with all of the court’s orders for the deferral or probationary period. If the defendant complies with all the court’s orders, at the end of the deferral period the court enters the plea of “not guilty” and the case is then dismissed.
In a suspended sentence, the court finds the defendant guilty, but allows the defendant to continue living and working in the community subject to their probation conditions. The sentence is “suspended.”
When a probationer violates the terms and conditions of their probation, they are in violation of their probation and that carries certain ramifications, depending on the context of the probation. One of those ramifications is the revocation of probation, meaning the probationer must spend the rest of their sentence in either county jail or in the custody of the Department of Corrections.
Typical Probation Conditions
While each probationer’s terms and conditions of probation may be a bit different depending on the case involved, here are some of the more typical probation conditions imposed:
- Regular probation reporting to a probation officer.
- Agreement to obey all laws.
- Refraining from the use of alcohol and illegal drugs.
- Continued employment.
- Registration with and reporting to the Sex Offender Registry if applicable.
- Ban on possession of firearms.
- Regular drug testing.
A judge may impose any probationary terms that they feel is necessary to protect the general public and to help the probationer avoid future crime and jail.
Termination Of Probation When Probation Violations In Oklahoma Occur
When probation violations occur, they are reported. Then, the District Attorney may bring a motion to end probation.
In the case of a deferred sentence, that motion is called a Motion to Accelerate.
In the case of a suspended sentence, that motion is called a Motion to Revoke.
Both options require a hearing before a judge.
Motion To Accelerate
In a deferred sentence, this motion is brought to accelerate time directly to the end of the deferral period. The court can then impose the original sentence for the underlying crime.
This usually means that the probationer must then go to jail or prison for the entirety of their original sentence. There is no credit for time served while under probation.
Motion To Revoke
On a suspended sentence, the motion is brought to lift the “suspension” and send the defendant back to jail or prison to serve the remainder of their sentence. If granted, the court will give credit for all the time spent under probation.
It Is Best To Have An Attorney Represent You At The Hearing
These hearings have real-life consequences that can last for years. At the hearing, the prosecutor must prove that the probation terms were violated, but only by a preponderance of the evidence. This burden can be thought of as a showing of 51% — that the defendant was more like to have violated the terms of the probation than not.
A violation can happen by accident or mistake. Sometimes, a defendant needs more time or a different payment schedule to pay court costs.
Your attorney can help the court understand how and why the violation occurred as well as advocate for any changes to probation terms that might make it easier for the defendant to fulfill the terms of their probation. All too often, a defendant in violation of a probationary term will fail to help the court understand and rectify the problem.
Once all the evidence and arguments are heard, the court may rule immediately. If the court rules in the defendant’s favor, the terms of the probation are reinstated and the defendant maintains their freedom. If the court rules against the defendant, they are usually taken into custody immediately.
Don’t try to go this one alone. Help from criminal lawyers in Muskogee, Ok. is just a phone call away.
Free Consultation With a Muskogee Probation Violations Attorney
Any time you are facing probation violations in Oklahoma, you want to ensure that you get the help you need. Our attorneys will work with you to help you achieve a positive outcome.
Call a Muskogee attorney today at 918-884-7774 with your questions. You may also schedule a free, confidential consultation.