What should I do if being accused of violating my probation? 6 Answers as of June 06, 2011

I live in Monroe County, Mi and am on felony probation for dui! My son’s mother and I are going through a nasty custody battle she keeps saying she is going to call my PO and tell him I’m drinking and using drugs which is untrue. She thinks if she can get me arrested she will get full custody. So my question is can they violate me just cause she’s saying this with no proof? I’m trying to get my life together and I’m scared she can destroy it any time she feels like. Please tell me what I should do, should I call my PO and tell him she’s doing this. I’m very confused and scared.

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Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
Speaking generally, a probation officer is the person responsible for filing allegations that a probationer violated the terms and conditions of their probation. People charged with violating their probation are provided written notice of the allegations and they are also usually provided with notice of the date and time for an arraignment at the applicable court. At arraignment, probationers have a right to plead guilty, stand moot and have the court enter a plea of not guilty, or plead not guilty and request a hearing to contest their probation officer's allegations. Probationers are advised of their rights at this arraignment, including the right to council. A probationer is presumed innocent until the allegations are proven; albeit, the burden of proof is lower than proof beyond a reasonable doubt. If a person pleads guilty at arraignment, the judge will generally just sentence them right away. Prior to sentencing, the probationer and probation officer will have a chance to address the court regarding the possible sentence. Judges rarely request a second pre-sentence interview for these types of matters, so a probation officer's recommendation is potentially important. If the matter is set for a hearing, the presiding judge may schedule the hearing several weeks later and set a bond. If the probationer can post the bond, they will be on that bond until the matter is resolved. In some instances, a judge will just release the probationer on a personal recognizance bond. However, it is also common that the probationer will not get any bond and may need to serve some time before their hearing. Whether a judge sets a bond depends on a long list of factors and it depends on a person's particular circumstances. The burden of proof at these hearings is lower than proof beyond a reasonable doubt; however, the prosecutor still needs to prove the allegations. These hearings are less formal than jury or bench trial. The rules of evidence are relaxed. However, it still functions like other similar proceedings with exhibits being introduced, people testifying, witnesses being cross-examined, opening and closing statements, etc. Probationers still have their basic rights. They still have a right to council, a right to have a hearing, a right to see the evidence against them, a right to call their own witnesses, etc. Probation officers need at least some credible proof before they can charge someone with a violation. In many instances, just like a more traditional criminal charge, the parties will reach an agreement to settle the matter without the need for a hearing. Judges will generally respect those agreements; however, the presiding judge has ultimate authority over sentencing if the agreement involves a guilty plea of some kind. If you need specific advice for your particular circumstances, you should retain an attorney or request the court appoint you an attorney if you are arraigned on a probation violation.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/6/2011
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
If you are on probation and report, you may want to discuss this with your probation officer. If you are accused of drinking or drugs, a test, such as a hair follicle test, can confirm or refute the claims that you were drinking or using drugs. I believe that you are best advised to not use drugs or any alcohol and to discuss this situation with your probation officer or the attorney who represented you. I hope that this was helpful.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/1/2011
Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
Do nothing. No they cannot violate you just because she's saying this with no proof.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 5/31/2011
Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
First, for there to be a probation violation, there has to be proof of an actual violation. Because your co-parent makes an allegation, does not make it so. However, you may wish to speak with your probation officer to give him/her a heads up of what is happening in your life. Most importantly, don't violate your probation. Congratulations on getting your life back in order.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 5/31/2011
Nichols Law Firm
Nichols Law Firm | Michael J. Nichols
Call your PO and discuss it.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 5/31/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    You can only be violated if there is proof that you have either done something that you were not supposed to do on probation or you failed to do something that you were required to do. You would have to have a positive test for alcohol, a valid drug test or PBT from a law enforcement agency or some other form of good evidence that would indicate that you have been using drugs or alcohol. Chances are if it it just your wife's word, I doubt that very many POs would violate you for that with nothing else to go on. If they would, you would definitely need to retain a lawyer and have a hearing in front of the judge. The custody battle would be reason to call your wife's testimony into question as it demonstrates bias. Make sure you tell your PO what your wife is saying so it is you and not your wife that is the first to bring to her attention what is going on. If you have been violated, you need to retain a lawyer as soon as possible. Given what you have said, I don't think that is a likelihood.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/31/2011
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