Legal Standards for Probation Defense
Unlike an initial offense, the process of dealing with a probation violation uses a different series of legal standards. When a person is first charged with a crime, there are several legal protections provided to each person who goes through the United States criminal justice system, many provided either explicitly or implicitly in the Constitution. However, as probation is generally considered a lighter treatment when prison sentencing is the primary option, an individual may not find these same standards applied after the initial conviction.
When a person first stands trial for their crimes, there is a basic legal principle known as the presumption of innocence that regards all those facing criminal allegations as being innocent unless the accusers can prove guilt. However, if brought before a judge following a probation violation, a person loses this fundamental criminal right, as they have already been proven of their previous crimes. Instead, probation trials often include what is known as a presumption of guilt in which the offender must prove their innocence.
The trial for probation offenses is often referred to as an order to show cause, which is ultimately a trial in which the defendant must explain how they could not have committed the violation in question, or, at least, argue a valid reason for violating the terms of their probation. Considering that many probation trials are held either because of a secondary offense committed by an individual on probation or a failure to appropriately meet with a probation officer, this court order often hinges on the ability to present an alibi that can be corroborated through evidence or reliable witnesses.
In sentencing, there are several similarities to repeat offenders in a regular criminal trial. Previous offenses, the nature of the original offense, and the circumstances of the newest violation are all taken into consideration in sentencing. To learn more about the differences in process that occur in probation trials, contact a criminal lawyer.