What do I do to stay out of jail?

I was placed on probation for a driving while suspended within the last year. I honestly thought I just had to complete six months worth of probation. However, I have now learned that I actually had a year probation and it does say that on the paperwork I signed. I didn’t find out that I was in trouble because I had moved apartments and had forgotten to provide a forwarding address. The prosecutor is now apparently seeking to revoke my probation. I think I could be facing some jail time. What goes into this process and what can I do?

This sounds like a somewhat sticky situation. Obviously, one must read the probation paperwork they sign and take the conditions very seriously. Probation officers, prosecutors and judges usually afford little slack for those that fail to comply with the conditions.

I would first recommend contacting the probation officer and explaining the situation. Very politely ask the probation officer if there is anything you can do to bring yourself back into compliance. If the probation officer indicates some tasks that you can complete, immediately complete them! For instance, if you have fines to pay immediately pay them off or if you have classes to take immediately take them.

This may encourage the probation officer or prosecutor to reconsider the situation or lighten the recommended consequences. If the prosecutor proceeds with the case, you will be entitled to a revocation hearing. At this hearing, you have a number of rights such as the right to testify, the right to call your own witnesses and examine the states witnesses. At this hearing it is determined if the probation violations occurred.

Often times the probation violations are obvious and difficult to fight. The person may thus consequently stipulate to or not contest the allegations. In this scenario, it usually comes down to damage control.

The individual may stipulate to the allegations to achieve a better result at disposition. Disposition is where the judge must decide what the consequence should be of the probation violation(s). The judge has many options such as reinstating the probation or imposing jail time.

Indeed, probation is a process that must be taken very seriously and the individual must afford great attention to the expectations of the program. With that in mind, hopefully you are able to work out your predicament.