Conditions of Probation

A plea of guilty is a frequent outcome for criminal cases. As a part of a sentence, a defendant may be subject to a special set of rules, or conditions of probation. These rules could include a Fourth Amendment Waiver, a requirement to the defendant take drug tests, and/or any number of other conditions that a lot of people have to live with.judge.jpg

In cases where there is a victim, a defendant can be ordered to stay away from that person while the defendant is on probation. Clients sometimes incorrectly believe that if the client and the victim moved to another county, that these conditions won’t apply.

As long as that person is on probation that stay away condition applies. No matter what county or state a person moves to, the Court Order still applies. The defendant could be arrested for a probation violation and/ or be subject to new criminal charges under the proper conditions.

Entering a plea of guilty carries heavy responsibility. These conditions will apply for the entire term of the sentence unless a judge changes the terms.

Plea Offers

When a plea offer is made by the State, the defense attorney must present that offer to the client. Offers are not controlled by the defense attorney. At times, clients begin to feel like their attorney isn’t working for the client because the offer is so harsh.

Understand that your attorney advocates for your side. That being said, your attorney cannot change the law, the facts of your case, the political views of the prosecutor’s office or just about anything except to discuss the case with you and work to persuade the prosecutor. Your attorney can use the information you provide and investigation to shift the balance to your advantage in the case.

An attorney might suggest pleas to other laws that may fit your circumstances as an alternative. Evaluating these options is part of the negotiation process.

If you do not like a plea offer and an agreement cannot be reached, then your options become very limited. A plea of guilty without an agreement, throwing yourself on the mercy of the court, may work to your advantage depending on the judge and the charges. In that case, though, the judge cannot change the charges to which you plead or the maximum/minimum sentence.

The ultimate option, though, is a jury trial. Every criminal defendant is entitled to a trial by a jury of his or her peers.

© 2016 Nancee Tomlinson

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