Probation Revocation Cases in Colorado – C.R.S. 16-11-206

Most people have heard the term ‘probation’ and know that it refers to a form of supervision with which individuals convicted of crimes must comply. People have heard of the challenges inherent to staying in touch with probation officers and know how tough life can be if you are “on papers.” With that said, life can become much more difficult if your probation is revoked.

Frequently, a plea agreement or sentence ordered by a judge will require that the defendant comply with, and complete, some term of probation – typically something between 12 – 24 months, however the term can certainly be longer. Some offenses, like a DUI, require that a person engage in treatment. While that treatment can occur outside of probation, it is almost certain that a judge would include have the probation department supervise that person. The terms of a probation sentence vary from case to case and jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Generally, someone who is ordered to probation must, among other things, 1) meet with or stay in touch with their probation officer; 2) comply with monitored sobriety; 3) complete some sort of class (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers or Domestic Violence treatment); and 4) must have no new law violations.

If a defendant is notified that their probation officer or the district attorney is trying to revoke their probation, then that is typically for one of two reasons. First, an alleged technical violation. A technical violation may include issues of compliance with monitored sobriety (maybe a failed or missed UA) or a failure to complete some required class/course.

On the other hand, the basis of the revocation might be an alleged new law violation – perhaps the defendant was charged with a new criminal offense while on probation. Often, the Revocation Complaint, or the document filed by the Prosecutor or the Probation Officer, will indicate that there are technical violations and alleged new law violations.

Regardless of the reason for which your probation may be in jeopardy, it is critically important that you take every step you can to preserve your probation sentence. The reason for this is simple, if your probation is revoked and it is indicated that you did not complete probation successfully, then you may not be afforded a probation sentence in the future. That’s to say, in the unfortunate event that you ‘catch another case’ in the future, probation may not be an option on the table and in that event, the only option on the table may be some sort of jail or incarceration.

If you are having a probation revocation complaint, there are a few different ways in which the case will be resolved. Frequently, the court will order that the probation be “revoked and reinstated.” This can be a good outcome. This means that the court is essentially having you ‘restart’ your probation. Although that may not seem to be good news, it can be better than the alternative – revoked and terminated unsuccessfully. In some situations, if you have already completed all of the tasks that the court, and probation, has asked that you complete and if you are near the end of your term of probation then it is possible that your probation will be terminated successfully even though it is not fully complete. That may seem strange, but it might be a plausible outcome. It is important to communicate with your attorney what requirements of your probation you have and have not completed, as this can make a huge difference

The filing of the Probation Revocation Complaint is just the first step in the process. The next step will be a hearing in front of the judge. This is not a trial. You have already pled guilty to the offense that led to your probation. With that said, the prosecution will have the burden of establishing by a preponderance of the evidence the violation of a condition of probation; except that the commission of a criminal offense must be established beyond a reasonable doubt unless you have already been convicted of that new law violation. Typically, after your initial appearance, you will be set for a hearing, wherein the judge will determine whether the prosecution has met its burden of proving you violated probation a preponderance of the evidence.

The stakes are always high when someone is looking at a probation revocation case. Contact the knowledgeable and experienced attorneys at the Law Office of Jacob E. Martinez in order to set up a free consultation.