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Successful Defense of a Violation of Probation

Facts

The client was a 32 year old man who was successfully employed by an oil and gas drilling company out of state. The only problem was, he skipped out on his felony probation a month after he was released from jail in 2010 (he had been convicted of DUI and Possession of a Controlled Substance), failed to attend DUI School, and moved out of State without telling his Probation Officer. He absconded in 2010, couldn't get a driver's license and had a capias (a court ordered warrant) for his arrest. He wanted to clear up this violation so that he could get a driver's license and get on with his life.

My Approach

The biggest hurdle was that the client was facing significant jail time for absconding. If this were to happen, the client would lose his good job. Rather than surrender the client to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and have him sit in jail, I set the case on the court's docket for a future date and contacted the prosecutor. I explained that the client had not been re-arrested, was gainfully employed and was routinely drug tested by his employer (he had all negative drug tests). I also had the client pay off all his outstanding court costs and fees as a show of good faith. I then had the client enroll in DUI School (even though it was out of State) so that he would have all his probationary conditions met prior to coming to court.

Negotiations and Results

The Probation Officer was still insisting on jail time; it was her view that a person should not be able to abscond, come back years later and act like no harm was done. She wanted him jailed for an additional 12 months. I was able to persuade the prosecutor and the judge that to incarcerate the client would result in the loss of his job, the loss of his taxes and the strong likelihood that he would re-offend, which would ultimately cost the State much more money. After several court appearances, the client's probation was terminated; he was not sentenced to any jail time.

Final Analysis

Violation of Probation cases are tricky matters. But here, not only did the client not have to go to jail, his probation was terminated as well. I was able to make a strong case that the client had not been re-arrested, was living a law abiding and productive life and was able to pay off all his court costs and fees. This was a great result for a client that was convinced, before he called me, that he would have to spend at least six months or more in jail.

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