Oklahoma Probation Violations Lawyer
When you are charged with a crime in Oklahoma, if eligible, you have the option to enter a plea of guilty/no contest and be placed on a period of probation. Your probation will either be a condition of a deferred sentence or a suspended sentence. The specific rules and conditions of your probation will depend on the charge, the statutory requirements, as well as negotiations between your attorney and the prosecutor.
It is extremely important that you understand the difference between a deferred sentence and a suspended sentence and the exact rules and conditions of your probation prior to entering into any agreement. In the event you are not in compliance with the terms of your probation, the prosecutor can request that a warrant for your arrest be issued based on non-compliance.
What is a Deferred Sentence?
A deferred sentence is when a defendant enters a plea of guilty/no contest to the charge with the agreement to comply with the specific rules and conditions of probation to avoid a conviction. At the time of the plea, rather than finding the defendant guilty, the judge delays the finding of guilt for the period of the deferred sentence to allow the defendant time to complete the conditions of probation. If the defendant succesfully completes all conditions, including payment of all fines, fees, and costs, and does not pick up any new charges, the case will be dismissed.
The biggest benefit of a deferred sentence is upon succesful completion, the charges are dismissed, thus there will be no conviction on the defendant's record.
Motion to Accelerate Deferred Sentence
When a defendant violates probation or fails to comply with the rules and conditions of their deferred sentence, the prosecutor can file a Motion to Accelerate (MTA). A Motion to Accelerate will contain a list of the violations in order to provide the defendant notice of the allegations.
What is a Suspended Sentence?
A suspended sentence is when a defendant enters a plea of guilty/no contest to the charge with the agreement to comply with the specific rules and conditions of probation to avoid jail/prison time. Unlike a deferred sentence, with a suspended sentence, the defendant receives a conviction on their record upon entering a plea with the benefit of avoiding jail/prison time.
With a suspended sentence, the judge suspends the jail/prison time as long as the defendant is in compliance with the rules and conditions of probation.
Motion to Revoke Suspended Sentence
When a defendant violates probation or fails to comply with the rules and conditions of their suspended sentence, the prosecutor can file a Motion to Revoke (MTR). A Motion to Revoke will contain a list of the violations in order to provide the defendant notice of the allegations.
What Happens When a Motion is Filed?
In most cases, once the prosecutor files a Motion to Accelerate or a Motion to Revoke, a warrant for arrest will be issued. Typically the goal is to get the defendant in compliance. However, depending on the specific allegations, the prosecutor may seek jail time, sanctions, a conviction, community service work, prison time, etc.
Your Right to a Hearing
Any time a Motion to Accelerate or a Motion to Revoke is filed, you are entitled to a hearing before a judge. At the hearing, the State of Oklahoma must prove the violations they have alleged in the Motion. The burden of proof for the State is low—but a low burden doesn't mean no burden. The State of Oklahoma is still required to provide suffucient evidence for each of the violations alleged.
It is important to note that the purpose of this hearing is not to relitigate the underlying crime. If a Motion has been filed, you have already entered a plea to the charge(s) and you have waived your right to a jury trial. What that means is you have waived your right to challange the underlying crime. The sole purpose of this hearing is for the State to present evidence of the alleged violations of your deferred sentence or suspended sentence.
The 20-Day Rule
Once a Motion to Accelerate (MTA) or a Motion to Revoke (MTR) is filed and a warrant is issued, you are entitled to have a hearing before a judge within 20 days of the date of your arraignment. Both parties may agree to waive the right to have a hearing within 20 days in order to allow the defendant time to get in compliance, hire an attorney, or prepare for the hearing.
Just because you waive your right to a hearing within 20 days does not mean you waive your right to ever have a hearing. The 20-day rule is just that—having a hearing within 20 days. If both parties agree to waive, a future hearing date can be set by agreement or by the judge. And remember, you do have a right to be represented by an attorney.
What Are Some of the Most Common Violations?
ο Committing a New Crime
ο Failure to complete Drug and Alcohol Assessment and Follow up (ADSAC)
ο Failure to pay Restitution
ο Failure to pay 991 Fees
ο Failure to Pay Probation Fees
ο Failure to Report as directed
ο Testing positive for drugs and/or alcohol
ο Failure to complete Community Service
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Tankut Law, PLLC can help you connect with community resources for mental health and substance abuse treatment, ADSAC, assesments, anger management and domestic violence classes (BIP), community service, AA/NA, referrals for inpatient/outpatient treatment as well as sober living homes.