Ocean County Probation Parole Departments are agencies that supervise court orders that are an alternative option to imprisonment in Ocean County, NJ. Probation is the most commonly imposed type of correctional supervision. This office seeks to reduce the probability that those in the program will re-offend. Separate adult and juvenile divisions of the agency exist.
Parole is a program for offenders that are being released from prison and are re-entering the local community. Offenders are paroled on a conditional basis, and similar to probation, parole may potentially be revoked when the rules or conditions are violated. Each year, there are an estimated 350,000 individuals transferred from community-based supervision back to jails or prisons.
If you or a loved one has allegedly violated your probation conditions, it's important that you immediately find an experienced attorney who can assist you with navigating the Violation of Probation hearing. The potential risks and consequences associated with a decision that a probation violation transpired are very high. You should not face this alone with so much at stake. Additionally, the hearing is different from the original hearing you may have had. These differences, such as a lesser burden of proof, can impact the outcome.
What are the Common Conditions of Probation?
- Those on probation will have a schedule when they will regularly visit their probation officer
- Probation officers may also visit offenders in their homes without prior notice
- Emphasis is usually placed on abstaining from drug and alcohol, and the offender is likely to be ordered to submit to drug testing
- Offenders may be required to participate in a drug or alcohol assessment and possibly to attend treatment programs
- A monthly probation fee of approximately $25 must be paid in addition to any fines imposed or restitution that is ordered
- The individual is expected to be employed or otherwise participating in educational or vocational training
- There may a required number of community service hours
- There may be a requirement to pay child support or fulfill other outstanding financial obligations
- Depending on the circumstances, contact with a victim may be prohibited
Violations of Probation
Failing to comply with the established rules or conditions of probation can result in adverse consequences. Those who are arrested on new criminal charges are among those most likely to have their probation revoked. If a member of law enforcement or a probation officer has reason to believe that a violation has occurred, the offender may be placed under arrest. This arrest does not require a warrant, according to New Jersey Statute 2C:45-3
A summons may be received that requires the individual to make a court appearance, or an arrest warrant may be issued. The offender may be arrested without a warrant and placed in custody. They may be held without bail until their court appearance. A judge is responsible for hearing cases involving possible violations of probation.
In criminal proceedings, the evidence must show that the offense was committed by a standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Hearings for probation violations employ a lesser “by a preponderance of the evidence” standard in determining whether a violation occurred. Violators may have additional conditions or requirements added to their probation. The probation may also be revoked, and the offender could face resentencing for the original charges. Failing to satisfy financial obligations alone will rarely lead to revocation; however, it is possible for offenders that demonstrate willful noncompliance.
What Could Be the Potential Outcome of a Violation of Probation (VOP) Hearing?
Although it is not always the case, often the Ocean County judge who hears your case for the VOP hearing is the same judge who originally sentenced you to probation. If it is the same judge, they may take the situation very seriously. There are several sentences that a judge could choose in this situation. The judge might decide to extend the terms of your probation; however, the maximum time for probation in New Jersey is five years, so it would not extend beyond that. On the other hand, the judge could add additional conditions to the terms of your probation or remove certain conditions from the terms of your probation.
How can I defend against a Violation of Probation Complaint?
There are numerous possible defenses for VOP complaints. An experienced attorney will be able to speak to your specific circumstances, however, some that may apply are:
- The violation was not intentional or was accidental
- The violation was a minor thing
- It is a first-time violation and not of a serious nature
- The alleged action is not actually a violation of the probation conditions
Do I Need Legal Representation for a Probation Violation Hearing?
Defendants actively on probation that have been arrested or been issued a summons to face allegations of violating their probation should promptly speak with an experienced attorney. Courts do not take these matters lightly, and having seasoned defense counsel is critical. Legal representation will improve your chances of having a defense strategy that protects your rights and your future. An attorney will also be able to explain to you what the legal process will look like and how to best address the challenging situation.
Legal Representation for Probation Violations in Ocean County, New Jersey
Have you recently been arrested and charged with a criminal offense while still on probation? It's critical that you find an attorney who can protect your rights and fight on your behalf. Joseph D. Lento is an established criminal defense lawyer with an excellent track record of aggressive representation for clients facing these challenging circumstances. The Lento Law Firm has helped countless clients address probation violations. We encourage you to promptly contact the office today at (888) 535-3686 or through our online form.