The actions of a California criminal appeals lawyer recently compelled a California Court of Appeals to strike down as unconstitutionally overbroad a term of probation that stated that the defendant was not permitted to “associate, socially, nor be present at any time, at any place, public or private, with any person, as designated by his probation officer.”
In People vs. O’Neil, the First District Court of Appeals decided on August 13, 2008 that this type of probation order does not provide the defendant with any notification of “who” he can associate with or not associate with. Further, the court stated that it provides the probation officer with far too much power to dictate what persons the defendant can associate with.
The court stated that this term of probation would interfere with the defendant’s constitutional right to “associate with others” as well as to travel. The court made clear that it would be permissible of the probation terms stated a specific “class of people” that the defendant could not associate with. In this case, since the defendant had pleaded guilty to transportation and possession of drugs, the court said that a valid term of probation would be for the defendant not to associate with “known drug sellers or drug users”.
It is critical that before you agree to probation you completely understand the “agreement” you are entering into with the court and the probation department. If you violate any of the terms you agree to follow you can be returned to court and sentenced to county jail or prison. Be smart. Do not accept a “plea bargain” where you will be on probation without making sure your lawyer goes over all of the specific terms of probation you are agreeing to.
You can contact the California criminal appeals attorneys at Wallin and Klarich, 24-7, to discuss your pending legal matter. Call us toll free 888.280.6839. We will be there when you call. Visit us at www.wklaw.com