Violation Of Probation | Arguing Against Jail

NJ Assault Lawyer

After you have been indicted (charged with an indictment -also known as a felony), you may enter a guilty plea to a lesser crime. Instead of taking your chances with a trial, you admit your guilt and move on to the sentencing phase of the process.​

In NJ, Who Gets Probation And Who Goes To Prison?

The answer to this question depends on many factors.

For example, first-time offenders who committed a Third-degree crime and are denied Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) are usually good candidates for probation. In these situations, the defendant’s alleged criminal conduct was much worse than a misdemeanor but not so terrible that he or she should be sent to prison for years.

On the other hand, a defendant charged with a dozen third-degree felonies and who has an extensive criminal record will neither be granted nor benefit from probation. In addition, NJ is lacking the necessary funding to properly run the state probation program. Therefore, sentencing courts will carefully select which defendants they choose to release into society.

When a NJ sentencing court elects NOT to incarcerate a defendant, that court will almost always impose probation. New Jersey probation allows for the state to monitor a defendant for a period of one to five years. Of course, different defendants have different conditions imposed depending on their criminal records, the type of crime they plead guilty to, and the degree or severity of the crime for which they plead guilty.

NJ Assault Lawyer

When a defendant is placed on probation in NJ, the following conditions are usually imposed:

  • reporting requirements;
  • the payment of court fines and costs;
  • maintaining sobriety (staying clean);
  • maintaining good behavior (no repeat arrests);
  • maintaining employment;
  • complying with child support obligations;
  • and to fulfill any other court-imposed condition.

Each defendant is assigned a probation officer.

Inevitably, when defendants find it difficult to satisfy all of the conditions of their probation, they are alleged to be in “VIOLATION of PROBATION” (VOP).

When defendants face a VOP, they usually face serious imprisonment. 

As Hackensack criminal lawyers, we represent you during your VOP hearing, we really fight to get you a second chance. Many of our clients agreed to too many conditions of probation and were never really given a chance to succeed. During your VOP hearing, we will do everything we can to help you get a second chance. Oftentimes we can ask the court to eliminate those conditions of probation which create the most challenges in your life.

How To Know If You Violated Probation In NJ

Once your probation officer believes that you “the defendant” have committed a Violation of probation,  he or she will file a complaint with the court.

The complaint is like any other charging document. It lists and describes how the defendant allegedly violated the terms and/or conditions of their probation. A hearing date is set and notice is issued to all parties. If a defendant fails to appear, the judge will issue an arrest warrant.

What Happens At The Violation Of Probation Trial?

It is important to understand that at the VOP trial, the probation officer is not the person trying to prove that the defendant violated probation. The county prosecutor tries the case for the state and the probation officer serves as a witness.

The defendant is entitled to have his or her attorney present. The defendant’s attorney can cross-exam all state witnesses, present defense witnesses and introduce evidence favorable to the defendant facing VOP charges.

These are “bench” trials meaning that there is no jury. Only the judge decides whether the defendant violated probation.

What Happens If You Are Found Guilty Of A Violating Probation?

Before the judge renders his or her decision, all parties are permitted one last opportunity to make their case.

As defense attorneys, we explain all of the reasons why it is in the interests of justice that our client is given another opportunity. We thoroughly prepare and do everything in our power to persuade the court NOT to sentence our client to prison.

Upon hearing all of the evidence and all of the arguments presented, the judge will determine which course of action is best for everyone. If some of the original conditions were overly burdensome, the judge may continue probation while removing the difficult conditions. If for example, the payment plan was too high, the defendant may receive a lowered, modified payment plan for their fines, costs, and restitution.

The worst-case scenario is when a judge decides to remove the benefit of probation and sentences the defendant to prison.

It is for these reasons that a defendant who is charged with a Violation of Probation must retain legal counsel. If the judge decides to sentence the defendant to prison, all of the benefits of the original plea bargain are lost. A defendant may be sentenced to the maximum term of incarceration as permitted by the offense to which he or she pleads guilty. 

Can You Appeal A VOP Decision In NJ?

A defendant has forty-five days to file the Notice of Appeal.
A WORD OF CAUTION:
If you intend to appeal the decision or the sentence, we strongly recommend that you give us a call.

This is an overwhelming and complicated process and you should hire an experienced criminal defense law firm.

Violations of Probation must be taken seriously. All of the work, time and money that you invested to get the original probation plea bargain could easily be wasted.

If you are facing a violation of probation, you may find yourself waking up in prison with no clear idea as to how you got there.

Let us help you. We offer free consultations.

Please visit the Areas We Serve & Practice Areas pages for more information.

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How We Can Help

Regardless of the criminal charges you are facing, we are here to defend & protect you. Whether you are facing a restraining order, drug charge, theft charge, or aggravated assault charge, we are here to help you. Even a DWI case can really complicate your life.

If we can’t get your charges dismissed, we can either get them downgraded or place you in a diversionary program. The point is, our criminal defense lawyers will fight tirelessly to get you the best result possible. Take advantage of our free consultation to see how we can help.

Our Experience

You or a loved one have been arrested. Understandably, you are terrified & have a lot of questions. You’ve heard about plea bargains & probation, but the process is overwhelming. You want a local attorney near you to represent you.

Mr. Peyrouton is from Ridgewood & handles all types of criminal matters in New Jersey The New Jersey Law Journal recently published one of his articles on the subject of criminal law.

Our Practice Areas

Areas We Serve

Get Help With Your Case

How Do Your Free Consultations Work?

There are plenty of excellent Hackensack criminal lawyers in our area. Most, if not all of them, offer free, 20-minute, consultations. However, our free consultations do not have a time limit. You will never feel rushed.

The best way for us to help you is to patiently listen to your side of the story. Your version of events will serve as the basis for your legal defense. It is during these initial meetings that your memory of the event is fresh in your mind. Why we would rush you during such an important aspect of your case.

We understand that your choice of attorney could mean the difference between your freedom and spending years behind bars. 

When you hire an attorney, you are entering a long-term relationship. For this reason, it is important that you feel comfortable with the team of Hackensack criminal lawyers that will represent you.

A person extorts if he purposely threatens to:

a. Inflict bodily injury on or physically confine or restrain anyone or commit any other criminal offense;
b. Accuse anyone of an offense or cause charges of an offense to be instituted against any person;
c. Expose or publicize any secret or any asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or to impair his credit or business repute;
d. Take or withhold action as an official, or cause an official to take or withhold action;
e. Bring about or continue a strike, boycott or other collective action, if the property is not demanded or received for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act;
f. Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another’s legal claim or defense; or
g. Inflict any other harm which would not substantially benefit the actor but which is calculated to materially harm another person.

***It is an affirmative defense to prosecution based on paragraphs b, c, d or f that the property obtained was honestly claimed as restitution or indemnification for harm done in the circumstances or as lawful compensation for property or services.

Reasonable Articulable Suspicion

Reasonable suspicion is a “search” standard that applies in criminal law.

When a police officer conducts a warrantless search, and does not have probable cause to justify the search, the courts look to see if the police had
a “reasonable & articulable suspicion” for the search.

A mere “hunch” is not enough.

In other words, a police officer has to provide an acceptable explanation for the search.

United States Constitution

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

NJSA - 2C:43-7.2.
Eligibility for parole;
persons convicted of certain violent crimes

a. A court imposing a sentence of incarceration for a crime of the first or second degree enumerated in subsection d. of this section shall fix a minimum term of 85% of the sentence imposed, during which the defendant shall not be eligible for parole.


b. The minimum term required by subsection a. of this section shall be fixed as a part of every sentence of incarceration imposed upon every conviction of a crime enumerated in subsection d. of this section, whether the sentence of incarceration is determined pursuant to N.J.S.2C:43-6, N.J.S.2C:43-7, N.J.S.2C:11-3 or any other provision of law, and shall be calculated based upon the sentence of incarceration actually imposed. The provisions of subsection a. of this section shall not be construed or applied to reduce the time that must be served before eligibility for parole by an inmate sentenced to a mandatory minimum period of incarceration. Solely for the purpose of calculating the minimum term of parole ineligibility pursuant to subsection a. of this section, a sentence of life imprisonment shall be deemed to be 75 years.


c. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary and in addition to any other sentence imposed, a court imposing a minimum period of parole ineligibility of 85 percent of the sentence pursuant to this section shall also impose a five-year term of parole supervision if the defendant is being sentenced for a crime of the first degree, or a three-year term of parole supervision if the defendant is being sentenced for a crime of the second degree. The term of parole supervision shall commence upon the completion of the sentence of incarceration imposed by the court pursuant to subsection a. of this section unless the defendant is serving a sentence of incarceration for another crime at the time he completes the sentence of incarceration imposed pursuant to subsection a., in which case the term of parole supervision shall commence immediately upon the defendant’s release from incarceration. During the term of parole supervision the defendant shall remain in release status in the community in the legal custody of the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections and shall be supervised by the State Parole Board as if on parole and shall be subject to the provisions and conditions

Felony Degree

Prison & Fines

Examples

First-Degree

1st-degree felony charges in NJ are reserved for the most serious criminal offenses. Prison terms start at a minimum of 10 years in prison.

Second-Degree

2nd-degree felony charges carry 5-10 yrs in prison.
These charges can often be “downgraded” to 3rd or 4th-degree crimes.

Third-Degree

3rd-degree felony charges carry 3-5 years.
You have a good shot at PTI if you are charged with a 3rd-degree.

Fourth-Degree

4th-degree felony charges carry up to 18 months in jail. These cases can get “remanded” to a lower court. In this way, you will be out of “felony” danger.