In Missouri, if an individual violates the terms of his or her probation, the probation officer or prosecutor will file a Probation Violation Report with the court in which the alleged violator was originally sentenced and placed on probation. After filing the report, the court will either issue a warrant for the violator’s arrest or provide the violator with notice of a hearing date in which he or she must appear to answer to the alleged probation violations. At the Probation Revocation Hearing, the defendant can either take one of two courses of action. The violator can admit to the violations and request the court to continue the probation term rather sentencing the defendant to a term of imprisonment. On the other hand, the violator may choose to deny the alleged violations and have a full evidentiary hearing. At the hearing, the prosecutor must prove to the Court that the defendant violated the terms of his or her probation. The violator has a right to cross-examine witnesses and present witnesses and evidence to the court if he or she decides to deny the violations. The prosecutor’s burden of proof at a Probation Revocation Hearing in Missouri is not “proof beyond reasonable doubt” but whether the Judge is reasonably satisfied that the violations have been committed.
Because of the low burden of proof, the decision to either admit or deny the alleged violations is a critical decision that should always be made with the advice of an experienced Missouri probation violation attorney. It is important to remember that a Judge can sentence a violator to the full original sentence, continue the probationary period, or extend the period of probation. For instance, if you pled guilty to a felony drug charge and were sentenced to five years in prison but the judge suspended the prison term and instead placed you on probation, the judge, at a Probation Revocation Hearing, may reinstate the five year prison sentence, simply continue the probation term as is, or extend the period of probation.
If you are alleged to have violated the terms of your probation, it is vital that you seek out an experienced and aggressive St. Louis probation violation lawyer to help you choose the best course of action. The probation violation lawyers of Henderson & Waterkotte, P.C. will vigorously fight to keep you out of jail.