Probation Violations and Revocation Hearings

Criminal Defense Attorney Assisting Residents of Milwaukee and Surrounding Areas

For many criminal defendants, a sentence of probation may seem far less intimidating than prison time. As a result, some people may give less consideration to the restrictions of their probation than they probably should. Yet violations of probation may have significant consequences for defendants and may ultimately result in the same penalties that a defendant initially avoided. Many defendants accused of probation violations also do not realize that they are entitled to a revocation hearing and that they should secure representation from a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney for that hearing. At Reddin & Singer, LLP, Milwaukee probation violation lawyer William Reddin can represent Wisconsin residents throughout the duration of the criminal process, including in probation revocation hearings and other post-sentencing proceedings.

Understanding Probation Violations and Revocation Hearings

When a defendant is sentenced to probation rather than jail time, certain conditions will be imposed as part of that probation. A defendant may be required to pay certain fees to the court, participate in mandatory drug testing, and report to their probation officer on a regular schedule. If a defendant fails to do this, probation may be revoked. Before probation is officially revoked, however, defendants are entitled to due process, including a revocation hearing to evaluate the nature of the alleged violation and whether revocation is appropriate.

First, a defendant will receive written notice of the violations that are alleged to have occurred. A hearing will then be set up for the state to present evidence of the violations. The defendant will have an opportunity to defend against these allegations. Probation revocation hearings are not held before circuit court judges in Wisconsin but are instead held by administrative law judges (ALJs). Both parties at the hearing will have the ability to present evidence and witnesses and to cross-examine each other’s witnesses. Importantly, the rules of evidence that applied during the defendant’s criminal trial do not apply at a revocation hearing. At the conclusion of the hearing, the ALJ will have 10 days to make a determination as to whether revocation is appropriate.

If a defendant disagrees with the outcome of a probation revocation hearing, they may appeal the ALJ’s decision. First, within 10 days of the ALJ’s decision, the defendant may appeal to the Division of Hearings and Appeals. If the decision is not overturned at that stage, a defendant may also file a writ of certiorari with the circuit court where the initial sentence was handed down and, if necessary, then appeal to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.

Consequences of Probation Revocation

If an ALJ determines that your probation should be revoked, the consequence of this determination depends on the nature of your probation. At your criminal trial, one of two types of probation was imposed: either a withheld sentence or an imposed and stayed sentence. Under a withheld sentence, the judge withheld from imposing a sentence entirely. When probation is revoked, the defendant must go back before the sentencing judge and receive a sentence for the original offense. However, under an imposed and stayed sentence, the sentencing judge did render a sentence but stayed the sentence to allow the defendant to serve probation instead. If probation is revoked, the original sentence imposed by the judge is then implemented.

In either situation, a defendant is likely to face significant jail time as a result of the probation violation. This means that you should reach out to a criminal defense attorney to guide you through probation revocation proceedings.

Consult a Probation Violation Lawyer in Milwaukee

Receiving a sentence of probation may be an important first step in moving forward with your life. Rather than time spent in jail, a defendant can focus on getting a job and repairing their position in society. Probation violations put all of this at risk and subject a defendant to additional time in the criminal justice system. At Reddin & Singer, LLP, Milwaukee probation violation attorney William J. Reddin can advise his clients on how to avoid revocation and make sure that they are vigorously represented in revocation hearings. He can help people who need a drug offenses attorney or assistance in fighting charges of domestic violence, DUI, sex crimes, violent crimes, white collar crimes, theft offenses, and other crimes at the state and federal levels. Contact our office online or at (414) 271-6400 to set up your free appointment. We serve people in Milwaukee, Mequon, Racine, West Bend, Waukesha, and other communities in Milwaukee, Racine, Washington, Ozaukee, and Waukesha Counties.