When you are placed on probation, you are required to sign a probation contract. On the contract, there are standard terms (or "conditions") of probation, e.g., "obey all state, federal and local laws," "report regularly to your probation officer," "pay a probation supervision fee," etc. There may also be special conditions of probation, e.g., "pay restitution," "attend AA or NA," "perform community service," etc. You must comply with each and every term of your probation, as ordered by your sentencing judge. If you should violate any of those terms of your probation, you are subject to arrest and any number of penalties. Once your probation officer is made aware of your alleged violation, he or she may file a "surrender notice" to force you to re-appear in court. The surrender notice informs the judge of your alleged violation of probation. After receiving the surrender notice, the judge may elect to issue a warrant for your arrest, although it is also possible that the judge will merely summons you to come to court.
At the Boston law office of Yannetti Criminal Defense Law Firm, Massachusetts probation and surrender hearing lawyer Yannetti and his associates defend clients accused of violating their probation. In many instances, we can negotiate with your probation officer or present evidence of extenuating circumstances that can allow you to avoid being sentenced to prison of the house of correction. Our attorneys are both knowledgeable and experienced in seeking alternatives to prison that include community service, restitution, and alcohol and drug abuse counseling.
What's Involved in Probation Surrender Hearings
The Initial Surrender Hearing
In general, there are two hearings involved when a person is accused of violating the terms of their probation. At the first hearing (the "initial surrender hearing"), you will be brought before the court and formally notified of the alleged probation violations. At that hearing, your probation officer will typically summarize the surrender notice for the judge, who will determine whether or not there is probable cause to believe that you did indeed violate a term of your probation. One important issue to be resolved at this initial surrender hearing is whether you will be held in jail without bail until the second (or "final") surrender hearing. If your probation officer recommends that you be held — and if the judge finds you to be a danger — then you could be taken in custody at the end of your initial surrender hearing. Needless to say, it behooves you to retain an experienced and competent attorney at this crucial juncture in the case.
The Final Surrender Hearing
At the second hearing (the "final surrender hearing"), your probation officer will likely be prepared to have witnesses called to testify against you. Your attorney would have a chance to cross-examine those witnesses, and he may call witnesses on your behalf as well. If there is strong evidence that you did indeed violate a term of your probation, the focus may instead shift to punishment. Sometimes, it might be in your best interests to stipulate to a violation of probation and negotiate a compromise with your probation officer regarding what should happen to you as a result.
Well-Respected Legal Representation
Attorney Yannetti and his colleagues are well-known and well-respected among probation officers throughout Massachusetts. There are, of course, no guarantees that any lawyer can negotiate a successful result for a client. You cannot and will not, however, find better counsel than the attorneys at the Yannetti Criminal Defense Law Firm. Bear in mind that even if your attorney negotiates a good disposition with your probation officer, the judge must still accept any agreed-upon recommendation. The stakes are obviously quite high. The standard for a violation ("probable cause") is quite low. It is important for anyone facing a probation surrender hearing to retain an experienced probation violation defense attorney who can protect your rights and interests — and to keep you from suffering harsh consequences after the hearing.
Call For A Free Consultation With A Boston Probation Violation Defense Lawyer
If you have violated the terms of your probation, getting immediate legal help may mitigate the consequences. Contact an attorney online or call 617-338-6006 for a free phone consultation.