To be arrested and charged with a crime does not mean you will automatically go to jail or prison. You must be convicted of the crime. But even when incarceration is a potential penality of the crime you allegedly committed, there are alternatives. Probation is one such alternative. But getting probation depends on the charges, the facts of the case, and the circumstances as well as how persistent and resourceful your criminal defense attorney can be with their negotiations. Probation may be on the table as a disposition in many cases, but it is not for all of them.
If you are facing criminal charges or a probation violation on those criminal charges in Rhode Island, you do not have to fight the case alone. You can be represented by an experienced Rhode Island criminal defense attorney who understands what you are up against and will work with you to obtain the best outcome possible. Call Ellison Law LLC at 401-230-5520 today, or simply fill out our online submission form to better understand the charges against you and how you can fight them.
What Constitutes Probation in Rhode Island?
Probation is the community supervision of an offender instead of incarceration. When you are on probation, the court sets conditions for a specified time period during which the court retains authority to modify the conditions or to resentence you if you violate the conditions of probation. In exchange for being on probation, you must comply with the conditions of the probation order.
Probation is administered by probation officers who monitor and support offenders. The goal of probation is rehabilitation.
Probation is different from parole. While parole also involves community supervision, it's granted by a parole board after an offender has served part of their jail sentence. Parole is a form of early release whereas probation is part of the court's sentence.
How is Probation Ordered in Rhode Island?
A court can give an offender probation instead of jail time. The court does this by sentencing the offender to a suspended period of imprisonment and probation. If the offender completes their probation, they won't have to serve any time in jail.
A court can also sentence somebody to straight probation with no suspended time. If the offender completes their probation, they won't have to serve any time in jail.
Alternatively, a court can order a split sentence where the offender is to be released on probation after serving some time in jail.
Probation is run by the Department of Corrections in Rhode Island.
General Conditions of Rhode Island Probation
The specific conditions of probation depend on the nature and seriousness of the offense and the personal circumstances of the offender.
Under a probation order, a court may order an offender to:
- Report regularly to a probation officer
- Attend counseling or other rehabilitation programs
- Appear at scheduled court hearings
- Restrict their drug and alcohol use and participate in regular testing
- Comply with a curfew
- Complete community service
- Pay a fine or restitution to a victim
- Avoid certain people or places
- Avoid further criminal acts
- Remain in the state unless travel outside the state has been cleared by the probation officer
- Wear a GPS monitor
- Keep the probation officer updated on any changes to your name, address, or other contact information
This is not an exhaustive list. There are many options available to a court when deciding the conditions of a probation order.
Violations of Probation in Rhode Island
There can be serious consequences if an offender doesn't comply with the conditions of their probation.
If an individual is on probation they are required to follow the terms or special conditions of their probation. One of the required special conditions of probation is to keep the peace and remain of good behavior. In the event an individual on probation is alleged to be in violation of the terms or conditions of their probation the State will most likely file a Rule 32F violation. The individual will be required to appear in front of the court on the new charge. At this time the court can schedule a violation hearing. The judge may grant bail to the defendant under the condition the defendant attends the violation hearing or the judge can hold the defendant without bail until the violation hearing. At a violation hearing the judge determines whether or not the individual violated their probation. Rule 32F of the District Court Rules of Criminal Procedure states the following:
“No revocation shall occur unless the State establishes by a fair preponderance of the evidence that the defendant breached a condition of his/her probation or deferred sentence or failed to keep the peace or remain on good behavior.”
If the judge decides the defendant did not violate probation then the matter is closed. On the other hand, the judge may determine the violation occurred. At which point the defendant will be sentenced for violating their probation.
Unlike criminal cases in which a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, a probation violation has a lower standard. The State must establish a fair preponderance of the evidence that the violation occurred. This means the evidence is sufficient to create a belief in the minds of the judge that the State, who bears the burden of proof, has established its case. It is important to contact a criminal defense attorney with experience with individuals facing a probation violation. If a probation violation is determined to occur it could lead to revocation of probation, addition of a new probation condition or incarceration.
Do I Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Rhode Island for a Probation Violation?
If you are at risk of being sentenced to probation or facing a probation violation, it is important to seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. While probation may be preferable to jail, the conditions can be onerous and probation orders can last for many years. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can make submissions on your behalf to the court to help you get better conditions under a probation order.
Contact Probation Violation Lawyer in Rhode Island Today
If you are accused of violating a probation order, you can face serious penalties and are at risk of being sent to jail. At Ellison Law LLC, we have experienced probation violation lawyers who will represent you and defend you against these allegations to help you continue to serve your sentence in the community. Call 401-230-5520 today to schedule a consultation to learn more.