Probation is a type of supervisory sentence imposed by the judge that will allow you to be released back into the community in lieu of jail time based on the probation term. In essence, a sentence of probation is a second chance and a new beginning. In the state of Missouri, you can be on felony or misdemeanor probation.
In Missouri, there are three types of probation sentences:
- Suspended Imposition of Sentence ("SIS"): Under a suspended imposition of sentence, you do not receive a conviction unless your probation is revoked. If the court does revoke your probation, you face the full range of punishment for the charge you are on probation for. This can include being placed on SES probation, ordered to complete a 120 or one-year treatment or shock incarceration, and being sentenced to jail or prison.
- Suspended Execution of Sentence ("SES"): Under a Suspended Execution of Sentence you receive a conviction. In addition, the judge gives you a "backup" sentence which must be served if your probation is revoked. The only exception is that a judge may revoke your probation pursuant to a 120 or one-year treatment or shock incarceration program.
- 120 Treatment or Shock Incarceration Program and Long-Term Treatment: A judge can also sentence you to a 120-day or year-long treatment program or a 120-day shock incarceration program. Under these programs, the judge actually sentences you to a prison term. You are sent to prison to either complete a treatment program or simply sit for 120 days. Prior to the end of the program, the Department of Corrections sends a report on your progress and behavior to the judge. If the judge is satisfied with your conduct during the program, he or she can order you released on "SES" probation. By contrast, if the judge is not satisfied with your conduct, he or she can order you to remain in prison for the remainder of your sentence. The long-term year-long treatment program functions in the same manner program, but lasts a year, rather than 120 days.
The court has wide discretion in determining the terms of your probation in accordance with the State of Missouri Probation & Parole guidelines. A judge can issue any term or condition of your probation as long as it bears a rational relationship to the offense for which you were placed on probation in the first place. A violation of any of these terms can subject you to severe criminal consequences. Here are a few common probation violations that could result in probation violation penalties:
- Failure to pay restitution
- Failure to pay a court-ordered fine or intervention fees
- Failure to attend court-mandated programs, such as SATOP or REACT
- Failure to report to your probation officer
- Traveling out of state without express permission from Probation & Parole
- Failure to test negative for a probation-required drug test
- Association with convicted felons
- Failure to complete a court-ordered drug and/or alcohol treatment program
- Commission of a new criminal offense
If you have a probation violation charge, you may face severe consequences for violation of the terms of your probation. You can be subject to arrest and taken before the court for what is known as a probation revocation hearing. At the probation violation hearing, the judge will determine if you have in fact violated the terms of your probation. If you are found to be in violation, your probation can be modified or revoked and the judge can impose a jail sentence or even a prison sentence depending on the underlying offense that placed you on probation in the first place.
Facing a judge at a probation revocation hearing alone without aggressive representation is a terrible idea. You have an absolute right to a lawyer at this type of hearing.
If you are confronted with accusations of alleged probation violation, it is essential that you contact an experienced Missouri criminal defense lawyer who is familiar with such cases to provide a probation violation defense. The Law Offices of Brian J. Cooke has many practice areas but has handled hundreds of probation revocation hearings as a top probation violation lawyer in St. Louis and helped numerous clients avoid prison despite serious violations by understanding the probation sentence. If you or a loved one is facing a probation violation, please do not hesitate to contact St. Louis probation violation attorney Brian J. Cooke for a free consultation.