Interviewer: Let’s go back to probation violation. Are there any particular cases that you can share with us where you helped a client out despite facing difficulties?
Paul Tafelski: What comes to mind as being a more common scenario where we’ve been able to really help the client is when their probation is violated because of the use of drugs or alcohol. The violation is related to having a serious problem such as heroin addiction or alcoholism or prescription pill addiction. And the recommendation is to give them the maximum jail time because they’ve had ongoing problems staying clean.
It Is Always Advisable to Defend Any Probation Violation
So in a number of those situations, we’ve been able to effectively demonstrate to the court why this person’s disease should not be treated as disrespect to the court. Instead, we try to prove to the court just how much the client has done right instead of focusing only on what they’ve done wrong. And on many occasions, we have avoid prison time and long jail sentences and kept the client on probation and got them significantly reduced amounts of jail time.
I always tell clients, do not give up fighting on these violations of probation until the very last second. Because you never know how you might catch a break and why you might catch a break. And don’t just give up. You keep trying to get the best possible result no matter what it looks like.
Violating Probation While the Disposition of Your Case Is Deferred Will Result in a Permanent Criminal Record with No Opportunity for a Dismissal
Interviewer: Is there anything you would like to add, in conclusion about probation violations?
Paul Tafelski: One thing I would say about violation of probation that’s critical for people to remember is if your case is going to get dismissed at the end of probation, if it’s under advisement or delayed status or deferral and you violate your probation, one of the worst things the court can do to you is revoke that status. Then they permanently put the conviction on your record.
So you want to take every violation of probation seriously. If you don’t take it seriously and that happens to you, it’s too late to go back and fix it. You’ve got to try to deal with that and keep that status during that violation of probation. You won’t be able to come back later and get it reinstated.