Man in courtThis is the next post in my series on the handling of methamphetamine cases in Phoenix, Arizona. My last article discussed the role search and seizure plays when one is charged with a methamphetamine related offense. In this discussion, I will be looking at what one should expect and understand when they are required to serve probation after being convicted. Failure to fulfill one’s probation requirements can result in a jail sentence or even time in prison.

One sentenced to probation will have to fulfill several requirements. These include meeting with a probation officer, surprise visits by the officer at one’s home, obeying the law, keeping the officer informed of any changes in employment or housing, and immediately reporting any police contact.  Probationers will also have to complete community service requirements, pay fees and fines, and, in a case involving drugs such as methamphetamine, pass regular drug tests. Failing to meet any of these requirements can result in the probation officer, or the prosecutor, filling a Petition to Revoke Probation. The process for a probation revocation is very different from a trial; a Judge, not a jury, will decide whether one violated the terms and conditions of their probation. Also, it does not need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that one violated probation. Whether or not to revoke probation (and impose a jail or prison sentence) or give the probationer a second chance is entirely up to the Judge.

It is important to understand that the Judge does not have to send a defendant to prison after they have violated the terms of their probation. The more a defendant has attempted to live a “clean” life then the more likely the Court will be to give someone a second chance. If, for example, one has been holding steady employment, has been staying out trouble, and has been cooperating with their probation officer then the Court may give them a second chance after failing a drug test. If, however, one has generally not followed the terms of their probation then a failed drug might be the proverbial straw which breaks the camel’s back and one will go to prison as a result.

Another point to consider is that a criminal defense attorney can often negotiate, with the prosecutors, for a reinstatement to probation. Such a negotiation is common and the process is similar to working out a guilty plea (except in this case it is an “admission). Given that there are many possibilities, after one is alleged to have violated probation, it is important for defendants to retain counsel. In addition to Phoenix, we service Maricopa County areas such as Mesa, Glendale, Scottsdale, Chandler, and Gilbert as well as Pima County residents in Tucson. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.