Can an attorney help resolve probation violation issues? 6 Answers as of January 30, 2011

My son got convicted at age 18, of receiving stolen property (2 pairs of board shorts) 3 years ago, was charged with a misdemeanor and put on probation, with the understanding that if he violated, the charge would turn into a felony. About a year later he was arrested for allegedly eating a cheeseburger that was purchased by someone else, with an unauthorized ATM card. He plead guilty, because the other kids had private attorneys, he wasn't eligible for bail and didn't want to sit in jail for months waiting for his turn in court to prove his innocence. This past Nov., with another year passing, he was arrested for allegedly not having a permanent address and even though we had solid proof that this was not the case, he was still arrested and at his arraignment he was given a choice of plead guilty or wait till after the holidays to have your case heard. So again, he pleaded guilty. Last week he was spending time with a visiting friend in LA and I (mom) was working in OC. He had a scheduled PO visit and the plan was that he would take the train from LA to OC and I'd take him to his scheduled PO appointment. On the way to Union Station they bumped the car in front of them. There were no injuries, moderate vehicle damage, the woman they hit didn't have insurance and my son needed to make the train so there was no police report taken, but my son still missed the train. He called his PO to let her know and she, as usual could care less. He took the next train available, but by the time I picked him up and got him through traffic to the PO office it was past 5 and now he's in violation again. He's refusing to go in, knowing she'll arrest him again and thinking this time will be a prison term. Can an attorney help resolve this mess?

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Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
Absolutely. If he goes in he is guaranteed to be screwed. There is an excellent criminal lawyer in Santa Ana named Jeff Friedman. Use my name: dennis Roberts. I don't have his contact info but U can get it from the phone book. Good luck. As sonny gets older here's hoping he gets smarter.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/28/2011
Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
Can an attorney help? Yes. Is there a guaranteed good outcome? No.

The logical starting place is for the attorney to contact the PO and meet to try to calm down and discuss the problem. If the PO violates him anyway, the attorney can then go to court with or without the client present [as long as this is a misdemeanor, not a felony], to arraign him on the PV, set bail or get OR, set hearings, etc. to start the defense process. If serious about hiring counsel to help him, feel free to contact me.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/28/2011
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
I think an attorney would be a good thing. Legal representation does not guarantee that you get a desired result. But this situation seems to warrant the use of an attorney who should be told the matter will likely result in more than one appearance and perhaps a hearing. Your son should understand that he may be kept in custody and that he needs to accept that possibility unless he just wants to go to prison. However, son does not seem to be showing any change in that he is not being responsible for his conduct.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/28/2011
Law Offices of Ryan P. Murphy
Law Offices of Ryan P. Murphy | Ryan P. Murphy
Yes, a good private attorney can help resolve this mess. There are ways of dealing with these issues. The first issue to to get an attorney involved so the bail will be ready if the prosecutor, Probation Officer, or the court wants to take him into custody. Arguing the the new cases without preparing is like going to a gun fight with a knife. Should you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact my office at your earliest convenience.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/28/2011
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
Unfortunately, your son's actions were very typical - short-term reward for harsh long-term consequences, and he has continued to make one bad choice after another.

Of course an Attorney can help resolve the situation. He really has a legitimate excuse for missing the appointment. Some Deputy Probation Officers are very unsympathetic (I could use stronger language), and some are. The Judge will decide at a Violation of Probation Hearing whether it is more likely than not that your son willfully violated the terms of his probation. You need to get the names, date, time, etc., regarding the accident. Line up your witnesses. Confer closely with your Deputy Public Defender. He needs to go in. He can calendar the case himself and show up, and ask to have the Public Defender's Office appointed. He probably will get hooked up (arrested) in the Court room. Maybe not. Putting it on the calendar himself would be a good move and show that he wanted to address the situation. He needs to stop pleading to felonies. As I said, he has made some very foolish decisions for a minor, short-term reward. If he
has a chance to admit a violation of probation, and to be reinstated, he should do so. He is not necessarily going to prison. There is no way to plan for every possible emergency, but he will want to make sure he has plenty of time to get to the Probation Department on time in the future. I had a client years ago who was late to an appointment with his Deputy Probation Officer.The Probation Officer told him that he could have started walking at 3:00 a.m. and made it to his appointment on time, twenty-five miles away. You get an idea of the attitude you can run into. Did your son call to advise the Probation Department what was going on? Being responsible and staying in touch - keeping them advised - could go a long way.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/28/2011
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