Probation in Massachusetts originated in 1841. It is a court-ordered penalty. A person can avoid jail by following the supervision of a probation officer and fulfilling certain terms and conditions. In Massachusetts, thousands of people are on probation each and every year.
Conditions of Massachusetts Probation
Judges in Massachusetts have a broad sentencing power. A judge may place someone on probation for any amount of time they believe to be appropriate and proper. Judges may also set any conditions they feel are appropriate. For instance, Judges may order someone on probation to complete a specific rehabilitative program either for violence or substance abuse or to perform community service for a set period of time or to stay away from a certain person. As long as the conditions of probation are not vague conditions may be imposed even if they violate a person’s rights. An example would be ordering someone to stay away from a certain person or location. Certain terms and conditions are required for everyone on probation including no new arrests, pay all fines and fees, update probation on address and employment, not to leave the state without permission and report to probation officer as requested. Only a judge may set the conditions of probation, not a probation officer
Probation Fees in Massachusetts
Anybody sentenced to probation in Massachusetts must pay a “service fee.” The amount of the fee depends on whether the supervision is administrative or supervised. Failure to pay fees may result in a violation and a possible revocation of probation.
Violation of Probation
A person violates Probation by committing a new criminal offense, not paying fines, or failing a specific condition. Court rules govern Probation violations and provide the authority for probation officers to arrest for alleged violations. Probation officer may get warrants for violators and have the violators arrested.
A violation of probation the probation must file a written notice of violation specifying the nature of the violation, date time and place for the hearing. A Probation Surrender hearing is the final hearing. Unless the probationer waives his/her right the hearing cannot be sooner than 7 days and generally within 30 days of receipt of the notice. Normally if the person
Upon presenting the probationer with the notice of violation, the probation can ask the judge to hold the probationer in jail until the final surrender. Unlike in a criminal case there is no bail or review of a judge’s decision to hold the probationer on a probation detainer. Unlike in a criminal case plea the defendant does not have the right to withdraw his/her stipulation if the judge exceeds his/her sentence recommendation.
The probationer and the probation officer may come to an agreement prior the hearing. There the probationer will stipulate to a violation. Both sides may either agree to a proposed disposition or argue for a different disposition. In case where there is a stipulation to a probation violation, the judge is required to accept an agreed or disagreed disposition.
The judge must decide two separate issues at a final surrender hearing. First, if the probationer has committed a violation of probation. If the judge does not find a violation the case will stand as it did before the hearing with no changes. If the judge finds that there is a violation he/she must then decide what the penalty should or must be.
A final probation surrender could be described as a mini-trial. It is conducted before a judge. The probation officer conducts the hearing for the probation department. Also, the probation officer may be helped by the assistant district attorney. The probation officer presents his or her evidence. They may call witnesses that are under oath. The probation may not call the probationer to the stand. Both the probationer and the probation officer can present evidence, cross-examine witnesses and make an argument. In order for the probation officer to prove there is a violation, he/she must prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence. This is a lower standard than the one used in criminal cases.
After a full hearing or in the case of a stipulation, and the judge finds that a violation occurred he/she must make written findings. If a judge finds that a probation violation has been proven, the judge must decide what sanction is appropriate. The judge may: 1). Allow probation to stand as before, 2). Terminate and discharge, 3). Change the terms and conditions, end date 4). Revoke probation and place probationer in jail. If the probation had a suspended sentence and the judge revokes probation then the judge has no discretion in the sentence. The suspended sentence must be imposed in cases of violation. In cases of straight probation, the judge may revoke the probation and sentence to probationer to the maximum sentence under the law. The timing of the violation is irrelevant and time served on probation is not considered in a probation surrender.
Best Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer
The Law Office of Patrick T. Donovan has successfully represented people on probation in Boston, Quincy, and throughout all of Massachusetts. Attorney Donovan has handled numerous felony and misdemeanor probation initial surrenders and final surrenders.
Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer Patrick T. Donovan is committed to aggressively pursuing the best possible outcome for each and every one of our clients. As a probation lawyer Patrick Donovan will fight hard for great results.
A former Assistant District Attorney, Patrick Donovan is well aware of the many legal strategies both law enforcement and district attorneys will use when trying to obtain a criminal conviction. Mr. Donovan uses his prior knowledge as a prosecutor to his client’s advantage by challenging evidence submitted by Commonwealth’s attorneys, investigating faulty law enforcement procedures, and ultimately building the strongest case possible for every single one of his clients.
Call the Law Office of Patrick T. Donovan today for your free initial consultation at 617 479-1800.