Understanding State Court Probation

In Criminal Defense by johncannonLeave a Comment

Over ninety-five percent of criminal cases in Oklahoma state courts are resolved without a trial.  Seasoned criminal defense counsel can help you seek a dismissal or the best possible resolution of your case. The vast majority of cases are resolved by plea agreement by the prosecution and the Defendant, with the assistance of defense counsel. Not only is it critical to have competent defense counsel to assist you in reaching the best possible outcome in your case, it is equally important to have experienced criminal defense counsel, if you are accused of violating a condition or multiple conditions of your probation. No proceeding in state court affords a party more protection than a criminal defendant prior to a verdict or entry of a plea agreement. The government has the only burden and that is to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. However, upon entry of a plea agreement resulting in some form of probation a criminal defendant has limited rights.

There are three versions of probation, which a criminal defendant may entered into upon a plea agreement: deferred sentence, suspended sentence, and suspended in part. A deferred sentence is exactly what it sounds like; the Defendant’s sentencing date is deferred or delayed, contingent upon successfully completing and/or complying with all conditions of probation. The Defendant’s case will be dismissed and you may seek an expungement of your case, upon successfully reaching the sentencing date without an alleged violation. A suspended sentence is a conviction with a period of incarceration, in jail or prison; however, the defendant’s incarceration or service of their sentence is suspended or postponed, contingent upon successfully completing and/or complying with all conditions of probation. A suspended sentencing is similar to a deferred sentence; however, the defendant is convicted upon entering a plea. The benefit of a suspended sentence is the opportunity to avoid imprisonment/jail time. Upon completing the period of suspension, you cannot be incarcerated for your conviction. A sentence suspended in part includes incarceration and probation. Upon being released from the period of incarceration/jail time, the defendant will have a suspended period of his/her sentence. Upon reaching the completion of the suspended portion, a defendant cannot be incarcerated for the conviction. It is imperative you retain experienced criminal defense counsel to protect your rights and advise you of all your options at each phase of the judicial process of Oklahoma state court criminal proceedings.

Upon entering probation you forfeits many of your rights including the right to a trial by your peers. The prosecutor has the authority to file an Application to Accelerate your sentencing date, on a deferred sentence, and an Application to Revoke your probation, on a suspended sentence, for any violation they believe you have committed. The process is more administrative than judicial, as the determination as to whether you did or did not violation your probation is a technical determination. At hearing the prosecutor need only present a limited amount of evidence to meet the low burden of proof that you violated probation and your deferred sentence can turn into a conviction or you can be sentenced to jail or prison. It is crucial you obtain experienced counsel, if faced with the harsh reality of contesting a probation violating, to assist you through your options and presenting all the defenses available to you. There are multiple options to consider with an experienced attorney before exercising your right to a contested hearing before a judge, in which you do not know the outcome.

Contact Cannon Law Firm, if you are facing criminal charges of any kind. Our fierce advocacy will ensure your rights are protected and you reach the best possible outcome. Please visit our website, www.jpcannonlawfirm., for more information for your defense.   

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