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What to Expect at Your Probation Violation Hearing

Haskett Williams Monaghan Attorneys at Law  May 6, 2024

When you are on probation, being accused of violating the terms and conditions of your probation and receiving a summons requiring you to go to court can feel terrifying. Going to jail – something you thought was out of the cards – becomes a possibility again when you are scheduled to appear in court.  

But what happens at the probation violation hearing and how can you prepare?  

At Haskett Williams Monaghan Attorneys at Law, we understand the gravity of these accusations as well as the stress and uncertainty they bring. Our team works tirelessly to help people accused of probation violations stay out of jail and secure the fairest outcome possible.  

Connect with our criminal defense attorneys serving Central Oregon to discuss what you can do to prepare for your upcoming probation violation hearing and start working on your strategy.  

What Is a Probation Violation Hearing? 

A probation violation hearing is a court proceeding where a probation officer tries to convince the judge that you violated the terms and conditions of your probation.  

Probation violation hearings are much like standard court hearings with a couple of notable exceptions:  

  1. You will appear before one judge (instead of a judge and jury) who decides whether the violation did, in fact, occur and, if so, what kind of penalties to impose; and 

  1. The standard of proof in probation violation hearings is “preponderance of the evidence” (instead of “beyond a reasonable doubt”), which means the probation officer must prove more likely than not that you violated your probation.  

During the hearing, the judge will review the arguments and evidence presented by the probation officer and decide whether you violated your probation and, if so, determine the consequences, including sending you to jail or prison, extending your probation, or imposing heavy fines.  

Common Ways People Violate Probation

In our practice as attorneys who deal with probation violations and warrants, we have come to realize that many probationers (people on probation) do not fully understand the terms of their probation. This is one of the most common reasons people end up failing to comply with those conditions and face probation violation accusations as a result.

Below is an overview of some of the most common probation violations that can get you in trouble:  

  • Failing a drug test. 

  • Missing appointments with the probation officer. 

  • Not completing court-ordered treatment. 

  • Violating no-contact orders. 

  • Committing new crimes. 

  • Failing to comply with probation search conditions. 

  • Failing to complete court-ordered community service hours. 

  • Failing to pay fines. 

I didn’t understand the terms of my probation” is not a valid excuse for violating your probation. Consider contacting Haskett Williams Monaghan Attorneys at Law to get legal counsel on the appropriate course of action when facing a probation violation hearing.  

When to Expect a Probation Violation Hearing to Take Place?

In Oregon, arrest warrants for probation violations carry a “no bail” warrant, which means you will not be able to get out of jail once you get arrested for violating your probation. Instead, you will be held in custody until the hearing takes place.  

Oregon law also regulates how long you can be held in custody before you are brought before the judge. According to ORS 137.545(2), the court must hold a probation violation hearing within 14 calendar days following the probationer’s arrest or detention.  

The law also requires that probationers accused of violating the terms of their probation be brought before a magistrate within the first 36 hours of their stay in custody (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays).  

What Happens During a Probation Violation Hearing? 

When the probation officer believes you have violated the terms of your probation, you will receive a summons to appear in court for your probation violation hearing. The summons will usually contain: 

  • Your name. 

  • A description of the alleged violation. 

  • A statement supporting the probable cause of the alleged violation. 

  • Information regarding when and where the hearing will take place. 

  • The presiding judge’s signature. 

At your first appearance before the court – which is often called an initial violation hearing – you will be notified of the alleged violations and asked to either admit or deny the allegations against you.  

If you admit to violating the terms of your probation, the judge will impose penalties or sanctions as appropriate.  

If you deny the allegations, the court will schedule a full-on probation violation hearing. During the hearing, the probation officer will try to convince the judge that you violated the terms of your conditions while you will be given the opportunity to defend yourself against the accusations. 

What Are the Possible Outcomes of a Probation Violation Hearing?

A probation violation hearing in which you cannot prove you did not violate the terms of your probation may not end well for you.  

There are several possible outcomes of a probation violation hearing as the judge usually has a lot of discretion when it comes to choosing penalties or sanctions. When making a decision about the sentence, the judge may consider the following factors:  

  1. The nature and severity of the violation;  

  1. Whether the violation causes harm to the public; 

  1. Whether the probationer has violated their probation in the past; and 

  1. The probationer’s attitude during the hearing.  

In any circumstances, the judge has the right to revoke your probation. This could mean serving your original sentence in jail or prison. As an alternative, the judge may extend the probationary period, order additional community service hours, make the terms of the existing probation stricter, or choose other penalties or sanctions.  

When you have an attorney in your corner, they will fight for the most favorable outcome possible. If proving that you did not violate your probation is not possible, your attorney may be able to argue for a modification of probationary terms or other less stringent sanctions.  

Get Skilled Legal Representation During Your Probation Violation Hearing

If you are facing a probation violation hearing, it is not too late to take control of the situation. You may still be able to stay out of jail. However, you need to take the accusations of the alleged violation seriously and prepare for your probation violation hearing properly and as far in advance as possible.  

It’s not the time to take your chances. Contact our experienced defense attorneys at Haskett Williams Monaghan Attorneys at Law to discuss your situation and start working together towards a positive outcome.

Our office is located in Bend, Oregon, but we provide legal services to clients across Central Oregon, including Sun River, Redmond, Sisters, and Prineville.