As a Criminal Defense lawyer practicing in Gresham and Oregon City, I am asked about the procedures and rules that apply to a Probation Violation matter.  Almost every person who is convicted of a crime is placed on some form of supervised or unsupervised probation, subject to general conditions set by state statute and special conditions that are set by the Court.

If a person is on supervision, the probation officer starts the probation violation process by arresting the probationer and issuing a Detainer to keep the person in custody until they are brought before the Court.  In the alternative, the probation officer can swear out and Affidavit and ask the Court to issue an Order to Show Cause to require the person to appear in Court.  The Court may also issue an arrest warrant at this stage of the process.

Once a person is arraigned on the Order to Show Cause a date is set for a Probation Violation Hearing.  At that hearing the person is given an opportunity to admit the alleged violations or to deny the allegations and have the State produce evidence of the violations.

The procedural rights for a defendant in a probation violation matter are similar to those granted a defendant in a criminal trial and are based on fundamental principles of due process.  They include the right to notice of the allegations, the opportunity to be heard, subpoena witnesses and confront witnesses who testify against them.  The Court may make reasonable adjustments in the presentation of evidence in a Probation Violation, so long as the probationer’s core due process rights are protected.

Also included in these rights is the right to be provided with documentary evidence relevant to a persons guilt or innocence of a violation.  Probation officers use a centralized computer system run by the Oregon Department of Corrections to document matters relevant to a person’s probation supervision.   Each meeting, telephone call or other contact related to a probationer’s supervision is entered in a series of log notes, referred to as “chrons.”  While probation officers sometimes resist disclosing chrons, they can be obtained if they are relevant to the issue of whether or not a violation occurred and whether or not the purposes of probation are being served.  We find that they are nearly always useful and relevant.

There are times when a contested probation violation hearing is necessary, either because no violation occurred or because some of the claimed violations are not valid.  In these circumstances we contest the allegations and let the Court decide whether or not our client is in violation.  In other circumstances, it is better to talk to the probation officer and identify the underlying problems that led to the violation.  Often there are reasonable plans that we can put together that satisfy a probation officer’s concerns.

As a Probation Violation Defense Attorney in Gresham and Oregon City, I take these probation violation matters seriously.  After 35 years of practicing law, I have the experience to evaluate probation violation matters and plan the best course of action to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of my clients.

 

Source: JFO Rourke Blog

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