March 3, 2014 • Jerod Gunsberg, Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer
NEGOTIATION IS USUALLY PREFERABLE TO A HEARING. Yes, you are entitled to a probation violation hearing. But under California law, the standard for proving a probation violation is very low and the court can find a defendant in violation of probation for a variety of reasons: A new arrest (even if no new case is filed), failure to report to the probation department, failure to complete community labor or community service, and failure to pay a fine are the most common reasons that a probation violation is alleged. Generally speaking, these issues are cut and dry. It either happened or it didn’t, so there’s not a lot of fact finding to be done at a hearing. The bigger priority for a criminal defense attorney is getting probation reinstated and keeping the client out of custody.
HELP YOURSELF BY WORKING WITH YOUR ATTORNEY TO COME UP WITH A PLAN. Have you not checked in with the probation department either at a kiosk or in person? Have you not gone to your community labor (CalTrans) or community service? Have you been testing dirty? You and your attorney need to sit down and discuss why these things have been happening and how to remedy the situation. While not a legal defense, a court and some prosecutors can be persuaded by evidence of economic distress and physical or mental health issues. The point here is to go in to court beforehand and get all of this together with a plan with your attorney. It will make negotiations much easier.
IF YOU HAVE A PROBATION VIOLATION BENCH WARRANT, DON’T IGNORE IT. IT NEVER GOES AWAY. I regularly handle and get calls from people with probation violation bench warrants that are old… I’m talking 5, 10, 15 years old. These do not go away, even for misdemeanors. There’s no statute of limitations for the expiration of probation violation warrants. But the good news is that in many cases, dealing with an old warrant is not as difficult as you think. The secret is to working it out is a lawyer who understands how a particular courthouse, judge, and prosecutor are going to approach the situation. Remember: Your lawyer’s local knowledge is key.
If you or a loved one is facing a probation violation bench warrant in Los Angeles County or anywhere else in California, do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Jerod Gunsberg at (323) 633-3423 or via the secure contact form on this page.