Indianapolis Probation Violation Attorney
Your Case Doesn’t End Once You Are Convicted
Probation violations carry serious consequences, which can include your return to prison. If you know you’ve violated a condition of probation, failed a required drug or alcohol test, or have been accused of violating a condition of your probation, protect your future and your freedom by contacting an Indianapolis probation violation attorney at Keffer Hirschauer LLP.
At Keffer Hirschauer LLP, our criminal defense attorneys have decades of experience in defending against probation violation allegations as well as wider criminal defense work. We help probationers understand their probation conditions, defend against probation violation allegations, and prepare for probation violation proceedings. We work actively with you to pursue a favorable outcome in your probation violation proceedings.
Do You Need an Indianapolis Probation Violation Attorney?
The short answer is yes. If you are ordered to serve probation, you might be thinking you’re “free.” Probation is a great outcome when compared with jail time, which can derail work, family, and other aspects of your life besides being unpleasant in itself. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that you are truly free. Every sentence of probation has conditions, which you might have hurriedly agreed to without careful attention or without understanding the consequences of violating those conditions can bring.
Indiana’s probation standards require that probation officers notify the court if a probationer violates a condition of probation. The Indiana Standards are strongly worded, stating that “[u]ndetected violations create a risk to public safety and undermine the Court’s credibility.” As a result, the Standards task probation offices with developing “aggressive strategies” to discover if a probationer has violated a probation condition. If you are prohibited from traveling out of state, drinking alcohol, or being in contact with someone, don’t assume that no one will find out if you do one of these things.
The probation department’s mandate to search for probation violations and report suspected violations to the court means they are watching for probationers to make mistakes. Whether you didn’t understand the conditions of your probation or know that you committed a violation, you need experienced and dedicated Indianapolis probation violation attorney to provide the strongest defense possible and to help you fight to retain your probation privileges.
Typical Probation Conditions in Indiana
Indiana law provides a list of potential probation conditions that a court can require when it orders probation. The court can order any combination of conditions and add other conditions as it sees fit. The statutory Indiana probation conditions include requiring a probationer to:
- Work at a suitable job or pursue a course of education
- Undergo medical or psychiatric treatment or counseling
- Live in a “half-way house” intended for probationers
- Participate in a treatment program or rehabilitation provided by a probation department or another agency
- Support the probationer’s family as appropriate
- Pay restitution or reparation to the victim of the crime for damage or injury
- Not possess a firearm without written permission from the court or probation officer
- Report to a probation officer, usually monthly, and/or allow the probation officer to visit the probationer at work and/or home
- Not travel outside the jurisdiction of the court of the State of Indiana without permission
- Notify the court or the probation officer if the probationer moves or changes jobs
- Perform community service work
- Take drug or alcohol tests as demanded by the probation officer, and pay for that testing
By statute, certain crimes, such as sex crimes, stalking, and abuse of animals, require an offender to comply with other particular probation conditions. Those conditions are specifically designed to protect victims and the public, and they also help prevent the offender from reoffending.
All Indiana probationers are required to pay fees associated with probation, including an initial fee and monthly fees. Probationers may be also ordered to pay the costs associated with any prior incarceration.
If your conviction was for a federal crime, the federal probation statute applies. It provides both mandatory conditions the court must impose and optional conditions the court may impose. These are very similar to the Indiana probation conditions.
You Violated Probation—Can an Indianapolis Probation Violation Attorney Help?
You just visited your probation officer and took a drug test that you think you likely failed. Or you missed an appointment with your probation officer. Or you haven’t performed the community service that was ordered by the time required. Or you traveled to Las Vegas for a bachelor/bachelorette party without prior permission to leave the state. All of these are potential Indiana probation violations, but is it time to call an Indianapolis probation violation attorney? Absolutely.
Sometimes an allegation that you violated probation can seem almost casual. The low-key notice you receive or perhaps sympathetic comments from the probation officer may lure you into thinking that nothing will happen. But the consequences can be more serious than you suspect. If the court finds that you violated terms of your probation, the consequences can include:
- Lengthening the term of probation
- Filing additional criminal charges
- Reincarceration to serve the remainder of your original sentence
- Increased frequency of drug or alcohol testing
- Increased monitoring, such as with an ankle monitor
Given the severity of the consequences on your freedom, contacting an experienced Indiana probation violation lawyer at the earliest time is critical. An Indianapolis probation violation attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP can help by:
- Investigating the State’s ability to prove the allegations
- Advising you on whether it is best to admit or deny the allegations
- Gathering evidence to refute the allegations
- Representing you at any probation violation hearing and probation revocation hearing
Whether your probation violation proceeding is in Marion County, one of the surrounding counties, or elsewhere in the state, an Indianapolis probation violation attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP can help.
How Does Probation Work in Indiana?
If the probation department monitoring you believes you have violated probation, it files with the court a petition listing the alleged violation(s). A probation violation is not always a “serious” offense like the commission of a major criminal offense. Some common violations include:
- Violating curfew
- Committing, being arrested for, or being charged with a misdemeanor or other criminal offense
- Failing a drug or alcohol screening test
- Leaving the state without prior permission
- Violating home detention or other electronic monitoring requirements
- Failing to pay necessary fees related to your probation
When the State files a petition charging that an offender has violated a condition of probation, the court is required to hold a hearing. The court has the option of issuing a summons or notice telling the probationer when to appear, or, if there is some risk that the probationer will flee or cause harm to others, the court may order the probationer to be arrested. If the probationer is in jail, he or she may not be held there for more than 15 days without a hearing on the probation violation.
If you deny the allegations, the court sets an evidentiary hearing at which both you and the State may present evidence. The probationer has some rights similar to the rights at a criminal trial, such as the right to confrontation and cross-examination of the witnesses against him or her and representation by counsel, although there is no right to a jury trial.
The State must prove the alleged violation by a preponderance of the evidence. This is a lower burden of proof than required to prove criminal charges, which is beyond a reasonable doubt. If the State proves the allegations or if you admit them, the court proceeds to determine the consequences for the violation.
A judge faced with a probationer who has committed an Indiana probation violation has three options that he or she can exercise, alone or in combination. Under Indiana Code § 38-35-2-3, the judge may:
- Continue the probation as it is, with or without modifying or enlarging the conditions
- Extend the probationary period for up to one year beyond the original end of probation
- Revoke the probation and order the probationer to serve all or part of the sentence that the judge pronounced at sentencing
A probation revocation hearing is typically short. The prosecutor (the attorney for the State) will likely suggest a prison term or an extension to the probationary period. If you don’t have an attorney, there will be no one making an alternative suggestion that is more favorable to you.
Representation by an Indianapolis probation violation attorney is absolutely necessary to protect your rights and have the best possible chance for a favorable outcome. Without experienced criminal defense lawyer in your corner, it’s entirely possible that you may casually drive yourself to a probation revocation hearing based on a paper notice you received, but you won’t be driving home. Instead, depending on the severity of your violation, or whether there have been multiple or repeated violations, you could be immediately sentenced to serve time.
Defenses to Indiana Probation Violation Allegations
Working with an Indianapolis probation violation attorney gives you an ally in mounting your defense against the allegations. In addition to gathering and presenting evidence refuting the allegations, an experienced criminal defense attorney can also determine whether the State violated any procedural requirements that could undermine their case.
State law imposes procedural and notice requirements before a court can revoke your probation. For example, Indiana Code § 35-38-2-3(a)(2) provides that a petition to revoke probation must be filed during the probationary period or before the earliest of either one year after the termination of probation or 45 days after the State has notice of the violation. Additionally, the law does not permit probation revocation for failure to pay fees and costs unless that failure is reckless, knowing, or intentional, and the failure to pay fees, costs, or fines may not be the cause for imposing incarceration. The State is also required to offer you the opportunity to consult with a lawyer before you decide whether to admit a probation violation allegation.
If you have been accused of a probation violation, take advantage of the law’s requirement and consult with an Indiana probation violation attorney before admitting to a violation no matter how clear it is that there has been a violation. Only an experienced probation violation attorney like those at Keffer Hirschauer LLP can accurately recognize all of the small procedural errors and the major evidentiary circumstances that may work in your favor.