COLUMBIA PROBATION VIOLATION LAWYERS
Answering Your Questions & Representing You During Reviews
Portner & Shure, P.A. in Columbia, Maryland is a legal team known for creative strategies used while protecting a criminal defense client in court. Did you also know we have a reputation for upholding the rights of people before and after their cases conclude? It’s true – our attorneys can help you with bail issues shortly after arrest and during violation of probation hearings after sentencing.
A bail review hearing determines early on whether you will stay in jail or are granted pre-trial release. If you are on probation, a violation of probation hearing that goes poorly could keep you confined in jail or prison. Put simply, the consequences of a bail review hearing and a violation of probation can result in the loss of your freedoms, so representation from our Columbia, Maryland bail review and violation of probation lawyers is highly encouraged.
Speak with a team with more than 25 years of experience handling cases in Howard County Courts. Dial (855) 954-4141 now.
What Happens Following an Arrest in Howard County, Maryland
When you are arrested for a crime in Maryland, you are entitled to be brought before a judicial officer, i.e., a District Court Commissioner within 24 hours following your arrest. If you were arrested without a warrant, the commissioner must first determine whether there is probable cause to support the charges recommended to be filed against you. The commissioner also makes a bail determination at your initial appearance.
The commission has three ways to “set bail” during the initial appearance:
- Set bail for an amount adjusted based on the alleged crimes
- Denies bail by not setting any amount
- Release you – the accused – on your own recognizance
If the commissioner sets a bail amount or denies bail, then you are entitled a bail review hearing in the district court to argue contrarily.
What Happens in a Bail Review Hearing?
At a bail review hearing, the presiding judge can do one of four things:
- Leave the bail unchanged
- Increase or decrease the bail amount
- Set additional conditions for bail
- Order you to remain incarcerated without bail
There are several requirements that you must meet in order to be eligible for pre-trial release. Generally, these requirements and the amount set for bail come down to whether you are a “flight risk,” which means the court has reasons to think you might try to leave the county while your case is pending. The judge also has to determine if you pose a public safety risk, including to yourself, which will usually vary depending on the type of charges you are facing. For example, someone who is arrested and charged with murder would likely be deemed a “risk to public safety.”
Judges also look at other factors such as whether you are employed, your family’s reliance on your presence, recommendations from the state’s District Attorney, and your prior criminal history, including prior failures to appear in court. Along with these factors, your charges can make you ineligible for bail. Accordingly, if you have an upcoming bail review hearing, you should retain the services of our Columbia, Maryland bail review and violation of probation lawyers, who can guide you through the entire process.
What is Probation?
Probation is often a standard condition of a criminal sentence that attempts to minimize jail time without minimizing penalties. Essentially, probation allows you to “make a contract” with a judge to agree to follow the terms of that contract and face additional penalties if you fail to match those conditions.
Common probation conditions include:
- No drug or alcohol use
- Fines and restitution paid in full
- Community service
- Drug or alcohol treatment
- No contact with any victims
- Reporting requirements with a probation agent
- Obey all laws
Probation is good for all parties because it lets you continue your life like-normal after a criminal conviction and it helps keep jails and prisons emptier. If you fail the terms of your probation, then a violation of probation hearing will follow to decide what to do next.
Violation of Probation Hearings
There are two main types of probation violations:
- Failing to meet probation requirements, like not paying restitution or using alcohol on probation
- Being arrested or charged with a new, separate criminal offense
A violation of probation (VOP) hearing is considered a civil matter and is decided by a judge, not a jury. The state’s burden of proof is lower than beyond a reasonable doubt since it is not a criminal case. Instead, the state must only prove a preponderance of the evidence. In other words, it is easier for the state to prove a person’s guilt in a VOP hearing than a standard trial.
If a violation of probation resulted from a new criminal charge, dismissal or acquittal of the new charge does not terminate the violation of probation, either. The only evidence presented might be testimony from your probation agent. Ultimately, if the judge finds that you violated your probation, the judge can then decide a new sentence. If you were placed on probation and had some jail time suspended, a violation of probation hearing can require you to serve the entirety of the suspended sentence.
Get Answers & Guidance from a Winning Team
There are heavy consequences associated with a violation of probation hearing that ends unfavorably for you. Getting stuck in jail because you did not handle your bail review correctly can be just as frustrating and damaging to your overall wellbeing. We once again recommend teaming up with our Columbia, Maryland bail review and violation of probation attorneys from Portner & Shure, P.A.
All of our years of collective legal experience are used to your advantage when we are acting on your behalf during bail review or VOP hearing. It is our goal to give you reliable representation that steers you to the best possible outcome, such as being released on your own recognizance or continuing your probation as planned without further penalties.
Call us at (855) 954-4141 today to speak with our team.
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