Submitted by New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.
Have you been charged with violating your probation? Are you on probation and had a positive drug test? Can My probation be violated for not paying restitution or not complying with the ‘minor’ terms of probation? Lots of people have questions regarding their probation status and what would happen if they are charged with violation of probation. This blog will address the overall principles of probation and a Notice of Violation of Probation, or a VOP.
Many people in New Jersey who are charged with 3rd or 4th degree offenses and have a prior criminal history are most likely are entitled to probation. What is probation? Probation is a sentence which involves a county probation officer monitor’s your conduct and compliance with ‘conditions of probation’ after a guilty plea. Probation could also include County Jail, weekend jail term, and then a period of reporting to a probation officer with numerous conditions that must be complied with. In order to be entitled to probation a, you must plead guilty to the charge, only be charge with a 3rd or 4th degree offenses, and not have been afforded the opportunity to participate in probation previously,
Part of a probationary sentence will include reporting to a probation officer, paying any restitution, complying with the judge’s conditions tailored to your individual charges, probably undergoing drug testing counseling, and treatment recommended by a probation officer, paying fines and assessments, maintaining gainful employment, continually being enrolled in school and maintaining good grades, continue therapy and counseling with the physician who you have already been seeing or treating with, and any other condition the judge deems appropriate at the time of sentencing. As a result, you will be charged with violating your probation if you do not comply with any of these different and challenging conditions. Often times people do not take probation seriously and are charged with failing to report, failure to pay fines, positive drug screens.
What happens if you are charged with a Violation of Probation, a “VOP”? Anybody charged with a VOP could have their 4th or 3rd degree sentence imposed which could include upward to 18 months in New Jersey state prison for a 4th degree and five years New Jersey state prison for a 3rd degree. If there is a question as to whether or not you could be sentenced to that you should be definitely hiring an attorney that handles these types of cases. The risks you are facing going to court without an attorney who has the time and attention to address your individual and particular circumstances and why you are charged with violation of probation are really significant.
It is my opinion that there are essentially two types of violations, substantive violations like not complying with treatment, having hot or positive drug testing, failure to comply with mental health counseling and treatment; and minor violations like failure to pay fines, ferry to pay restitution ferry to maintain employment, or remain in school.
Substantive violations regarding drug and alcohol counseling treatment/therapy and positive drug testing require a great deal more attention and involvement from a criminal defense attorney. At this time in New Jersey there is a great effort to help drug abusers and drug addicted defendants. As a result, often probation violators will be encouraged to enroll and participate in drug court. In fact, there is a mandatory drug court evaluation process for some repeat probation violators. This enables the these type of defendants to get into counseling treatment and therapy on a mandatory basis without heading to State prison. Obviously, this is a greater benefits for a defendant, a substantial reduction in cost to the state, however you could be setting yourself up to fail by voluntarily agreeing to enter drug court.
Each individual defendant’s facts and circumstances are very case specific as well as their drug abuse history relapse history and underlying psychological or psychiatric conditions which are contributing to or encouraging the self-medication and drug abuse. These issues require the attention of a private defense attorney to help you evaluate your particular circumstances regarding your violation of probation, your violation of PTI, drug court possibilities, and your overall success in getting out of the criminal justice system. Please call Hark and Hark if you have any questions regarding these issues.
We are New Jersey criminal attorneys who handle PTI, probation, violations of PTI, violations of probation drug court violations, termination of probation, and all other criminal matters in all counties in New Jersey. We gladly except any and all reasonable payment plans and can help you with your criminal matters. Please email us directly, call S, or chat with our online representative about your particular facts and circumstances.
Jeffrey S. Hark, Esq.