There is perhaps no single, less-legally sophisticated area of criminal and DUI practice than handling a probation violation. The problem stems from the fact that the client has usually (but not always) violated some term of his or her probation. Often, it involves either a positive alcohol or drug test, or getting charged with a new crime while on probation. Sometimes, it can result from the person not completing what they were ordered to do, or not fully paying any outstanding fines and costs.
In some cases, what is alleged as the violation is simply not true, and a good lawyer will help his or her client prove to the court that they did NOT, in fact, violate the terms of their probation. When that happens, the probation violation gets dismissed.
In the majority of cases, however, the client is left confronting that positive alcohol or drug test, or the fact that is in trouble for having picked up a new charge. Sometimes, a PV can arise because the person failed to report to probation, or didn't complete something the court ordered him or her to do.
In these cases, you need a lawyer who is persuasive. To be blunt about it, your lawyer better have enough charm to sell bibles to atheists, because it precisely that charisma which will be necessary to keep the Judge from handing down a jail sentence.
A probation violation is serious business. Remember, the Judge has agreed to not put you in (or let you out of) jail in exchange for your agreement to follow the terms of probation he or she has set. Now, you have to go back in front of that very Judge for screwing it up somehow. It is an understatement to think he or she won’t be very happy with you.
Your lawyer better be able to talk that Judge down from his or her anger or impatience with you and present some alternative to simply locking you up.
In such a case, there are 2 important things are at play:
First, it's always better to go in front of a Judge who is familiar with your lawyer. Now is not the time to have your attorney meet the Judge for the first time.
Second, your lawyer better be, in fact, persuasive. If he or she is simply going to drone on about how sorry you are and promise that you won’t screw up again, then you should probably save your money and just go alone, or with a court-appointed attorney.
When you plunk the money down to hire a lawyer for a probation violation, it is with one thing in mind: keep me out of jail. You need a spokesperson that sounds good to you. Just because some lawyer kept your friend’s brother out of jail once, or won a high-profile murder case a while ago, does not mean that he or she has the charisma to keep you out of jail now, in this circumstance.
Knowing what I know, and I'm sorry if this sounds cocky, but I'd borrow the money to hire our firm. This is where we shine, and NOBODY can handle a probation violation better than us.
If the law office you're speaking with doesn’t grab your interest, if they don’t seem persuasive or charismatic to you, then chances are your gut instinct is correct. Of course, I hope you call our firm as part of your search, but whatever you do, you owe it to yourself to call around and get a feel for who is out there, what they charge, and how you feel about them.
When all is said and done, your lawyer either saves you, or not. Don't wind up in the "or not" club.