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Probation - Ikerd law Firm

Experienced Probation or Parole Violation Defense Attorney in Lafayette


Have you been arrested for a probation or parole violation and are waiting to see if your probation will be revoked?

If you have been serving misdemeanor or felony probation in south Louisiana or the parishes surrounding Lafayette, and your probation officer is trying to revoke your probation and send you to jail, you need to contact an experienced probation violation attorney today.

Chad Ikerd and the Ikerd Law Firm have spent over a decade helping clients with probation revocations and probation violation issues. We know most probation and parole officers personally in this area and have spent years working with them to find the best outcome for our clients.

If you are facing years in jail for violating the conditions of your probation or parole, contact the Ikerd Law Firm today for a free consultation.

 

Can I Challenge a Probation or Parole Violation in Lafayette?

The scales of justice - Ikerd LawIf you are accused of violating the terms of your probation or parole, you have the right to challenge the allegations and defend yourself in a hearing.

At the hearing, the prosecution, or your parole officer, will present evidence of the alleged violation and you will have the opportunity to present a defense.

It is important to note that the burden of proof in a probation or parole violation hearing is lower than in a criminal trial.

While the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed a criminal offense, they need only show by a preponderance of the evidence that you violated the terms of your probation or parole.

 

What is Probation and Parole?

Probation and Parole are both a form of “supervised release” that allows someone who has been convicted of a crime to serve their sentence out of jail, supervised by a law enforcement officer.

Because only persons who have either pled guilty or been found guilty at trial are on probation or parole, the “supervised release” comes with strict conditions and must be followed in order to continue to have the privilege of being out of jail.

Since jail is the default punishment for criminal activity, probation, and parole are “lenient alternatives” designed to:

  • Reduce the number of people in jail
  • Allow someone a second chance despite past criminal activity
  • Give families and communities a chance to help someone rehabilitate
  • Provide reduced supervision than in jail, ultimately saving money for the public.

Because probation and parole are privileges, they can be taken away if the strict requirements of either are violated.

If you have been charged with a probation violation in Lafayette, LA, you need a skilled criminal defense lawyer for probation from a firm like the Ikerd Law Firm on your side.

Reach out today and get the help you need. Do not let a probation violation put your rights at risk and ruin your path to a bright future.

 

Why Would You Need a Probation or Parole Violation Attorney?

Probation- Ikerd LawFor someone out of jail on probation or parole, being arrested and thrown in jail can have severe consequences on your life, job, and family.

You may lose your job because you cannot work while in jail. Your spouse and kids will be unfairly punished for your absence.

Your bills may go unpaid, which may lead to you losing your home or defaulting on your debts.

You may have a right to an appointed attorney to represent you in a probation violation hearing, but you do not have that right in a parole violation hearing.

Regardless, if you can afford private representation, you have the right to hire and be represented by your own attorney in both a probation and parole violation hearing.

There may be legitimate reasons why you could not fulfill your probation conditions; thus, you should not be sent to jail. Each case and facts are different.

Only an experienced probation or parole violation attorney can take the time to learn your case and make the best possible argument to your probation or parole officer and/or the trial judge or parole board.

 

What is the Difference Between Probation and Parole?

Probation and Parole are often spoken of interchangeably. While they are both very similar, there are key differences.

What is Probation?

Probation is a court-ordered period of supervision that is imposed as an alternative to incarceration. When someone is placed on probation, typically, they are not required to also serve jail time. However, there are exceptions to this rule, including when there are mandatory minimum sentences involved.

Most often, when someone is placed on probation, they are actually sentenced to jail as well, but that sentence is either “suspended or deferred.”

Those have different legal meanings as well, but both mean the defendant will not serve time in jail if the probation is completed successfully. Stay out of trouble and successfully complete probation, and you should not have to go to jail.

Probation Eligibility

Not all defendants or criminal offenses qualify for probation. Before going to trial or accepting a plea, you should consult an attorney with experience handling probation cases to see if you qualify.

Some factors that may disqualify you or your charge from probation include:

  • Criminal history
  • Prior unsatisfactory completion of probation
  • Crimes of Violence
  • Sex Crimes
  • Two prior probation sentences

Generally, most first time offenders of non-violent crimes will qualify for probation. Most judges and prosecutors see that putting someone in jail for a first offense is not productive. Instead, allowing a person to remain in the community, sleep at home, go to work, and pay taxes is a better use of resources and more likely to prevent future crime.

However, probation comes with serious limitations on your freedom. If those restrictions are not followed closely, it can lead to revocation of the probation, technical violations that require jail time, or community service.

Duration of Probation?

Felony probation sentences in Louisiana are generally limited to a maximum of three (3) years, and some can be up to five (5) years if the crime was a violent crime. Misdemeanor probation can only be up to two (2) years for each charge.

There are exceptions to these general rules, including when the probation is run “consecutive” to other probation terms.

The limited duration means that even if a judge sentences someone to 10 or 20 years, but suspends it and places them on probation, once that limited time of probation is successfully fulfilled, there is no longer any exposure of having to serve the 10 or 20 years (in this example).

The successful completion of the probation term ends the probationer’s obligation to the State.

However, if you violate the conditions of your probation even a day before it is complete, you may be forced to go to jail and serve the full suspended jail sentence.

What are some of the things you cannot do on Probation?

The main things you are required to do on probation are: (1) stay out of trouble, and (2) report to your probation officer. There are plenty of other conditions that your probation officer will go over with you, but those are the most important.

Probation is a second chance. It is an agreement you made with the trial judge that you will stay out of trouble and report periodically to your probation officer. If you do not do those things, most judges will revoke the privilege of probation.

Reasons probation can be revoked:

  • Fail to report to a probation officer on a regular basis
  • New criminal activity while on probation
  • Using drugs or alcohol while on probation
  • Possessing a firearm
  • Hanging around other people with felony convictions or charges
  • Refusing to participate in counseling or rehabilitation programs
  • Failing to perform community service
  • Failing to pay court costs, fines, or restitution

Probation Revocation Process:

Court stand- Ikerd lawOne thing that is different about probation, from parole, is that the trial judge retains jurisdiction over your case and decides whether to revoke your probation.

This allows for more flexibility in coming up with solutions, such as technical violations.

It may also include payment plans to bring your account up to date with court costs, fines, probation fees, or restitution.

Sometimes a person on probation may relapse into drug or alcohol addiction.

When that occurs, the court may allow them to go to rehab in lieu of revoking their probation.

Oftentimes, a judge may see someone was trying to comply and will extend their probation to give them more time. This can increase the total amount owed in supervision fees.

How much time will you have to serve if your probation is revoked?

The amount of time you will have to serve in jail if the judge revokes your probation depends on how much time you agreed in your plea or were sentenced to after a trial, that was suspended.

Typically, a judge will sentence you to X amount of years in jail, but suspend that time and hope you can complete probation. But when your probation is revoked, you will have to go to jail and serve that original sentence.

The bad news is, you may NOT receive any good-time compliance credits to apply toward the jail sentence for the time you were complying with probation. The good news is, you will likely qualify for early release on good-time parole after serving a percentage of your jail sentence.

You have more due process rights in a probation violation proceeding than you do in a parole violation hearing. This includes the right to an attorney to stand up and speak for you. You can have one appointed to your case through the public defender’s office, or hire an experienced probation violation attorney to represent you.

What is Parole?

Parole is a form of early release from prison that allows individuals to serve the remainder of their sentence in the community, under the supervision of a parole officer. Parole requires the defendant to serve time “up front.” Because a parolee is essentially someone who is supposed to be in jail but is released early, there are fewer due process rights than with probation.

Like probation, parole comes with conditions that must be met in order to remain in the community.

These conditions may include:

  • Reporting to a parole officer on a regular basis
  • Refraining from committing any further crimes
  • Abstaining from drug or alcohol use – not failing a drug screen
  • Participating in counseling or rehabilitation programs
  • Finding and maintaining employment
  • Paying any fines or restitution

Parole is typically granted to individuals who have served a portion of their prison sentence and are considered low-risk.

Duration of Parole

prisoners ankle monitor deviceUnlike probation, the length someone might have to serve on parole is not automatically limited by law.

Parole functions to release someone “early” from jail who was sentenced to incarceration in the hopes that they can complete their sentence out of jail, on parole.

Thus, the length of time someone must serve on parole is dependent on the length of their regular sentence and how much time they have served before being released on parole.

As an example, if someone is sentenced to 10 years on a non-violent crime, and they are released from jail after serving 40% of their sentence on good-time parole (4 years served), they still have 6 years left to serve. That person would then be on parole for the balance of their sentence, or 6 years on parole.

Parole Eligibility

Unlike probation, early release on parole is generally available to most people serving time. The amount of time will vary on the offense for which the person was convicted.

The Louisiana Legislature often changes the amount of time that must be served before becoming parole or good-time parole eligible. However, generally, non-violent crimes require less time to be served than violent crimes. Most sex offenses also do not allow for release on parole.

Different Types of Parole

In Louisiana, there are two different types of parole. One is discretionary, and the other is not, so long as good-time “compliance credits are earned.”

  1. Parole board release – In Louisiana, after an inmate serves a certain amount of time prescribed by law (typically 10% less than the good-time parole amount), the person may “petition” the parole board for early release. In this process, an application is submitted to a parole board panel which reviews the application and may interview the inmate and victims. Release this way is uncommon in Louisiana because granting release is discretionary to the parole board members.
  2. Good-time parole release – The most common way to be released on “parole” is through the earning of “compliance credits” for “good-time” served in jail. This is an incentive system that rewards good behavior from people serving jail sentences. Extra compliance credits can be earned by completing self-improvement classes, work skills training, and even your GED. If enough time is served and the person stays out of trouble, the Department of Corrections will release them to serve the balance of their sentence on parole.

Parole Revocation Process

Open cuffs -Ikerd LawUnlike a probation violation hearing, which is before a trial judge, a parole revocation hearing is conducted before a parole board.

You do not have the right to have an attorney appointed to represent you at the hearing. But you can retain private counsel to represent your interest.

How much time will you have to serve if your parole is revoked in Louisiana?

If you voluntarily revoke your parole, or it is revoked after a parole revocation hearing, the amount of time you will have to serve depends on the amount of time you were sentenced to and how much credit you previously earned toward that sentence.

The good news is that if you are revoked on parole and start to serve the balance of your time in jail, you may qualify AGAIN for early release on good-time parole after earning enough compliance credits.

 

Seeking Legal Counsel from an Experienced Probation and Parole Violation Attorney in Lafayette is Paramount

If you have been accused of violating the terms of your probation in Lafayette, it is important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible.

A probation violation defense attorney can help you understand the specific allegations against you and can work to build a defense strategy on your behalf.

Chad Ikerd has over a decade of experience working to prevent clients from having their probation terminated. The Ikerd Law Firm can help you understand the options that are available to you and can work to protect your rights and interests. Call or connect for a free consultation.

Remember, these proceedings typically occur very fast and you may not get credit for the time you were in jail awaiting a hearing if you later challenge the revocation. Thus, it is essential that you hire an experienced attorney to help you or your loved one today.

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