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Probation Violation Hearings in Massachusetts and the Importance of an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

1232540_statue_of_wisdom.jpgAre you facing a probation surrender hearing in any Massachusetts court because you were arrested or charged with a new criminal offense? Did your probation officer give you notice to attend an initial probation violation hearing because you allegedly violated the law or a general or specific term included in your probation contract or the conditions of a continuance without a finding (C.W.O.F.)? If so, it is crucial to hire an experienced Massachusetts probation violation defense lawyer right away to avoid being found in violation of your probation obligations.

If you find yourself before the court on an alleged probation violation, the District, Municipal or Superior Court judge has the discretion to impose a bail on you or hold you without bail while you await your final surrender or C.W.O.F. revocation hearing if he or she finds probable cause that you have been arrested or charged with a new criminal offense or that you have not adhered to your probation contract terms. This is the first stage of the probation violation hearing. If you are held without bail that action cannot be reviewed by the Superior Court.

At the final surrender hearing (the second stage of the process) the probation department officer, sometimes assisted by the prosecutor, will present all evidence of any violations usually through witness testimony and documentary evidence. The standard of proof at the final hearing is lower than a trial. The probation department need only prove a violation has occurred by a preponderance of the evidence. The defendant is allowed to testify at the hearing but is not required to testify. The role of the experience defense counsel at both stages is very important to the probationer.

A good defense lawyer will challenge all of the documentary evidence and test the credibility, motives, and criminal history of any witnesses at a probation surrender hearing. An experienced defense lawyer will extensively investigate the allegations and locate witnesses that may be helpful to the probationer. A skilled criminal defense attorney will point out inconsistencies and offer all evidence of compliance with conditions of probation. An experienced defense lawyer will also be able to negotiate with the probation department to avoid a finding of violation or by use of a stipulation to added conditions in the appropriate case. The bottom line here is that you need to hire a good lawyer when you are faced with any probation or C.W.O.F revocation hearing. The stakes are very high as the judges can sentence a probationer up to the maximum of the underlying offense.

The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy has been successfully fighting probation surrender hearings for years. Attorney Murphy is an experience cross-examiner of witnesses and probation officers and knows the right questions to ask and can make the strongest case for you to avoid a finding of a violation in your probation matter. Contact Attorney Patrick J. Murphy today and speak with him directly about your court case by calling 617-367-0450 or by completing the contacts tab of the website.