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Hearings on probation violations

In Minnesota, when a defendant in a criminal case is convicted via a plea of guilty or a finding of guilt by a jury, subsequently, they are sentenced.  When a defendant is sentenced, there are four (4) primary points:

            Charge:           will you be convicted of anything, and if so what?

            Time:              will there be a jail, workhouse or prison sentence?  If so, of what

                                    length?  Can this be satisfied via community service, sentence to

                                    service (a work crew), at the workhouse, or in prison?  Can there

                                    be a continuance for dismissal, a stay of adjudication, a stay of

                                    imposition of sentence, a stay of execution of sentence?

            Fine:                what will the amount of fine be?  Can a portion of the fine be

                                    stayed?  Can this be worked off?  Are there any surcharges? 

            Probation:       length and terms of probation?  Treatment?  No contact order?

                                    No use of drugs and alcohol?  Counseling?  Restitution? 


            In approximately 99% of criminal cases, there will be a term of probation, various conditions.  Very common conditions of probation include no same or similar offenses, remain law abiding, do not leave the State of Minnesota, anger management programming, no contact with victims, no contact with co-defendants, no use of drugs or alcohol, random testing, completion of drug and alcohol treatment, inpatient and outpatient, aftercare, counseling, sex offender treatment, no contact with minors, attend school, maintain employment, maintain curfew, no viewing of pornography, no use of the internet, no use of social media, no possession of firearms or ammunition, do not return to retail store, keep appointments with your probation officer, etc.

            The purpose of probation is rehabilitation.  And, essentially, a defendant is put on probation on the condition that they remain law abiding.  They need to remain law abiding in the community.  If they are not able to do so, then, they are declared not amenable to probation, and then they can be ordered to serve jail time, or, in felony cases, their probation can be revoked and they can be sentenced to prison.

            If a defendant violates a condition of probation, then the probation officer will issue a warrant, and request a probation violation hearing.  At the first hearing, the defendant will be called upon to enter either an admission to a violation, whereby the will be sentenced.  Or, if they enter a denial, a contested hearing will be scheduled.

            When a probation violation is alleged, the test at the hearings is:

  1. Was there a violation of probation?
  2. Was the violation intentional or inexcusable?
  3. Does the need for confinement outweigh the policies favoring probation?

So, even if there is a violation found, a sentence to incarceration should not be automatic.

The trial court is required to also consider whether or not the need for confinement outweighs the policies favoring probation.  If it does not, the defendant should be punished, but he should not be sentenced to prison.

Minnesota Probation Violation Lawyer Lynne Torgerson, a lawyer of excellence and experience of over 25 years, can represent you on a probation violation.  Ms. Torgerson also handles parole violations and violations of supervised release, in federal court cases.  Call Best Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer Lynne Torgerson today at (612) 339-5073!

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