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Probation Violations - Probation Revocations
If you are faced with a probation violation, you could be looking at substantial time in prison.
Your probation violation attorney can help you to either defend against the allegations – or – to collect and present mitigation to the court that may affect whether and for how long you are sent to prison.
What is probation in SC and what are the potential penalties for a probation violation?How Does Probation Work in South Carolina?
When you are placed on probation, you are sentenced to prison time.
Then, the prison sentence is suspended if you comply with all of the conditions of probation. These conditions may include:
- Reporting to a probation officer on a regular basis;
- Making monthly payments on supervision fees and court costs or restitution;
- Maintaining a regular job and a stable home address;
- Community service;
- Home visits by your probation officer; and
- Passing random drug tests.
If these conditions are not met, or if you are re-arrested on new charges, the probation department will attempt to revoke your probation and send you to prison.What Are the Potential Outcomes at a Probation Violation Hearing in SC?
The probation officer will serve you with a warrant for violation of probation prior to the hearing. You will be arrested but can usually post bond to secure your release until the hearing.
At the revocation hearing, you can either deny or admit the violation.
If you deny the violation, you are entitled to a full hearing where you can call witnesses in your defense and your attorney can cross-examine the probation officer's witnesses. After hearing the testimony, the judge will decide if you have violated the conditions of your probation.
If you admit the violation, you are then entitled to present circumstances in mitigation, to attempt to persuade the judge not to send you to prison. In either case, the judge has wide discretion, and may:
- Continue you on probation without sending you to prison;
- Revoke part of your sentence but then continue you on probation;
- Revoke part of your sentence and then terminate your probation;
- Revoke your sentence in full; or
- Terminate your probation with no prison time.
In most cases, you should not deny the violations unless you have solid evidence proving that the probation officer is wrong. When the probation officer testifies at a full hearing, the court is most likely going to accept what they say as true unless you have convincing evidence to the contrary…
If you can’t credibly deny the violations, it usually makes sense to focus on your mitigation and how to persuade the judge that the violations were minor, there were circumstances that explain the violation, you are working a full-time job and can pass a drug test today, and your family is depending on you.
We can present certificates, character witness letters, photographs, or any other information that would tend to mitigate the violation or potential punishment. We can bring live witnesses who can speak to the court about why you should not go to prison and why you deserve another chance.
In either case, admit or deny, you need to be prepared for your hearing. Your attorney will need to have your witnesses ready, your evidence ready, and your arguments ready before you enter the courtroom.What Is an Administrative Probation Revocation Hearing?
If you are given notice of an administrative hearing in your probation case, you are entitled to have counsel present at this hearing as well.
An administrative hearing is always beneficial because sometimes it is possible to resolve the violation through the hearing officer without even going to court. But, if the outcome is not in your favor, you will still have the opportunity for a full revocation hearing in General Sessions Court.SC Probation Revocation Attorney in Myrtle Beach, Columbia, and Lexington
Whether you intend to deny the allegations or admit them and then present mitigation, you will need an effective advocate with you to present your case to the Court.
If you have been served with a warrant for violation of probation, or if you are about to be served with a violation warrant, call the Thompson & Hiller Defense Firm at (843) 444-6122 or contact us online to find out what your options are and how we can help.