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Articles Posted in Probation

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If you are convicted of a crime and placed on probation, you will be required to follow certain terms and conditions of your probation. These conditions are often related to the circumstances of your crime.probation_2-300x166

So, what happens when the conditions of your probation are nearly impossible to follow? Can the court take away your right to use the internet and travel freely? This question was recently decided by the Ninth District U.S. Court of Appeals.

Court of Appeals Case

Joseph LaCoste plead guilty to federal securities fraud charges after being accused of illegally obtaining investments from his victims. He was sentenced to five years in prison followed by three years of probation.

LaCoste’s sentence was not all that unusual, but the conditions of his probation were very restrictive. Among other conditions, he was barred from using the internet without prior approval from his parole officer, and from residing in certain counties. Ultimately, the court threw out these conditions as being too broad and unrelated to his crimes.1

“A Fresh Start”

In sentencing LaCoste, the trial court found that he would often go on the internet to post disparaging comments about the people who fell victim to his crimes, spreading rumors about them and causing them additional emotional stress. The judge reasoned that because of his tendency to do this, he should not have access to the internet, and upon his release, he should not return to the communities where his victims resided.

In his remarks at sentencing, the judge told LaCoste that it would be better if he took the opportunity to make “a fresh start” so that the communities could heal.

Though he used the internet to mock and criticize his victims, the Court of Appeal found that the internet conditions were not reasonably related to the crime that he committed. The restriction barred him from any use of the internet, regardless of whether it was related to making remarks about his victims.

The appellate court saw this as too broad, and because of this, it deprived LaCoste of more freedom than was needed to prevent him from posting comments about those who complained about him. Continue reading →

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For those who have never been convicted of a crime, it is easy to think of probation as a mere slap on the wrist. But nothing could be further from the truth.

While probation is definitely better than incarceration, it is still a perilous balancing act between repaying a debt owed to society for wrongdoing and maintaining personal freedom. If you have been sentenced to probation for a crime in California, it is vital that you understand that your freedom comes at a price, and that you must always pay that price in full and on time.

Common Probation Conditions

California criminal courts are given wide latitude when it comes to the sentencing for many crimes. In crimes where probation is available, judges can impose any number of conditions upon your probation. This means that although you are not in a jail cell, you are still not free to do anything you please. If you fail to meet the conditions of your probation, a judge could terminate your probation and sentence you to the jail or prison term for the crime you committed.cert-300x200.jpg

Here is a typical list of what these conditions might be:

  • Restitution: The court may require you to pay either the victim or the state for damage you caused, thefts you made, or any other expenses others incurred as a result of your wrongdoing. Generally, you may make these payments in installments with the court’s approval.
  • Employment: Research indicates that people are less likely to commit crimes while they are employed. In keeping with that research, and in order to guarantee that restitution payments are made, the court may also require that you remain employed throughout your probation.
  • Drug/Alcohol Treatment: Probation is often granted for drug or alcohol related crimes, such as driving under the influence or possession of a controlled substance. Generally, you can expect that if you are convicted of a crime involving drugs or alcohol, the court may require you to enroll in a treatment program, and require that you submit to random drug testing.
  • Zero Tolerance for Alcohol: In DUI cases, there will always be a probation condition that forbids you from driving with any measurable amount of alcohol and/or drugs in your system. This might also include the requirement that you, at your own expense, install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your car that will prevent the car from starting should you fail the system’s breath test.
  • Mandatory Breath/Blood Tests: Furthermore, DUI probation will require that you submit to a chemical test of your blood or breath upon suspicion of another DUI. Under this condition, your refusal to submit to these tests will be considered a probation violation.
  • Search Warrant Waiver: You may temporarily lose your rights under the Fourth Amendment to be free from warrantless searches and seizures. This means that at any time, the police may search your person or your property without your consent and without having to follow the normal procedure of obtaining a search warrant, or without having to justify the search as being valid due to probable cause.
  • No Contact With the Victim: The court will often make it a condition of probation that you refrain from contacting the victim of your crime, or from coming within a certain distance of their person, home or workplace. This is common in domestic violence cases, but may be a condition of probation for any crime in which another person was harmed.
  • Community Service: It is common in many cases that the court will impose a requirement that you spend part of your time in service to the community. This usually takes the form of picking up litter at beaches, parks or roads, but it may also take the form of requiring you to serve in a homeless shelter or youth center.

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Did you hear the one about the guy from Oregon who thought it would be a good idea to taunt his probation officer through Facebook? 1 Or about the judge in Arizona who decided that a convicted sex offender violated his probation by posting on MySpace? 2

Like in many other states across the country, probation officers in California are using social media to track and monitor you if you are on probation. In the recent case People v. Ebertowski, the defendant often used his social networking accounts (such as Facebook, MySpace, or Instagram) to recruit members to his gang. Because of this, the court ruled that surrendering his login information to his probation officer was a valid condition of his probation. 3

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The court held that even where there is “(1) a legally protected privacy interest; (2) a reasonable expectation of privacy under the circumstances; and (3) conduct constituting a serious invasion of the privacy interest,” the constitutional right to privacy is not violated if “the invasion of the privacy interest is justified because it substantially furthers one or more legitimate competing or countervailing privacy or non-privacy interests.” 4

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When a defendant is convicted and ordered to serve a period of probation, the court, not a government agency, sets conditions of probation. This is true whether the accused is prosecuted in a state or federal court. Only parolees have their conditions of release administratively set by the Department of Corrections.

Generally, court-ordered probation conditions must reasonably relate to the crime for which the defendant is convicted and are not modified unlessGen%208.jpg

a person violates his or her probation or something else happens which gives the court a reason to change the conditions

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If you have been granted probation, it means the judge determined you were eligible to have a term of custody in jail or prison suspended for a misdemeanor or felony conviction, pending successful completion of your probationary period.

Probation allows you to complete your sentence while being supervised in the community. Probation can be served informally (“summary probation”), without being assigned to a probation officer; or formally (“felony probation”), which requires that you report to a county probation officer on a regular basis.canstockphoto12054719.jpg

The court sets terms and conditions of probation that you must comply with during your conditional release from custody.

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A California defendant was recently faced with the summary revocation of her probation by the county probation department. In this case, the defendant was placed on three years probation and required to pay restitution.

Threes month before her probation was set to expire, she was informed that she failed to make her restitution payments and she violated her probation. However, the defendant had been making her payments.

After appearing without counsel, the defendant learned that the court was indefinitely revoking her probation because she would not be able to pay the full restitution before her probation expired. On appeal and with proper counsel, the defendant was able to reverse the order and reinstate the original terms of her probation.

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Restitution Definition

In criminal cases where a victim of crime has suffered a type of injury, you may be held responsible for paying restitution. Restitution is simply defined as compensation to a victim of crime resulting from the criminal actions of the defendant. Once found guilty of the crime, you have a right to have a restitution hearing to determine the amount of restitution owed to the victim. Once the restitution amount has been determined, you will be ordered to pay that full amount to the victim. However, sometimes the restitution amount may not be determined until a later time due to the type of injuries or continuing care the victim is involved in.

If Your Probation Period has Ended, You Can Still Be Required to Pay Restitution

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If you are charged with a crime, the biggest question on your mind is, “Am I going to jail?” The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have helped keep people out of jail for the past 30 years. One of the primary tools to do that is probation.

Felony%20Criminal%20Defense%20Attorneys%20888-280-6839.jpg For some criminal convictions, a judge may decide to impose probation rather than a jail sentence. Probation comes with restrictions and conditions. If you fail to meet those conditions, the court may choose to revoke or modify your probation.

What are the main things a judge considers in granting probation?

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If you are convicted of a crime, probation may be a part of your sentence. There are two forms of probation: formal probation and informal probation. Formal probation is typically required as part of your sentence if you are convicted of a felony.

Formal probation, also known as felony probation, requires that you report and meet with a probation officer frequently. There are also certain terms of your probation that you must follow (i.e. that you don’t commit any other crimes, you do not possess any controlled substances, etc.) Felony probation in San Bernardino may also require random searches of your home to ensure that you are complying with the terms of your probation.

Informal probation, also known as misdemeanor probation, instead requires you to comply with the terms of your probation but does not require that you regularly meet with a probation officer.

Violation of Felony Probation

felony probationSo what happens if you fail to follow all the conditions of your probation? What if you did not meet with your probation officer as required?

If you do not meet all the conditions of your probation, you could be charged with a probation violation. This can be charged regardless if your probation was informal or formal. Common violations of probation include failure to report to probation officer, violation of geographical restrictions, and the commission of a different crime.

If it is proven that you violated the terms of your probation, there are a few things that could happen. The court could choose to modify or change the terms of your probation. Usually, this will make your probation more strict. However, the court could also choose to impose the sentence of the original crime committed. For example, if you are on probation for committing burglary, the court could end your probation and punish you with the sentence for burglary.

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If you have violated your probation, there are many probation violation consequences in Riverside that may be imposed upon you depending on the circumstances of your case. First, a judge may choose to revoke the probation you were granted and instead enforce the original sentence for the crime committed. In some situations, a judge may also revoke the probation and enforce the maximum sentence for the original crime committed. Other consequences the court may impose if you have violated your probation in Riverside include lengthening of the probation term, ordering of additional probation terms, requiring your participation in counseling connected to the crime committed or terms of your probation, community service, or requiring your attendance at substance abuse treatment programs. Under appropriate circumstances, the judge may also allow you a second chance to comply with the original probation terms and choose to continue the probation as it was originally enforced.
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The judge has wide discretion when determining the consequences of your probation violation in Riverside and looks at many different factors when making a decision. It is important that you have a skilled Riverside criminal defense attorney at your side to guide you through this legal process.

The consequences of your probation violation can be severe. If you have been charged with a probation violation in Riverside, it is important that you seek competent legal representation to assist you in your court hearing and prevent you from the potentially harsh consequences. The Riverside probation violation lawyers attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience in representing clients facing charges of probation violation in Riverside. You can contact the knowledgeable Wallin & Klarich attorneys at 1-888-280-6839. You may also visit our website for more information at www.wklaw.com. Call us today we will get through this together.

About Wallin & Klarich

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Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.