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Probation Violation Hearings

Probation Violation Hearings

Mr. O'Rourke is an experienced probation violation hearing criminal defense lawyer and attorney in
Portland, Gresham, Beaverton, Hillsboro, and Oregon City Courts and Courts throughout the State of Oregon. Mr. O'Rourke began as a Portland Criminal Lawyer in 1978. 

Mr. 0'Rourke and His Staff Work as a Team for You 

In every probation violation case we use the same four methods to defend our clients and win that we use in all criminal cases: attack, negotiation and mitigation. We use what works to achieve the goals we set with our clients. 


We make sure that you get your rights and the government follows the rules regarding probation conditions, probation hearings, evidence and sentencing for probation violations. We present evidence on your behalf.


We NEGOTIATE before and after allegations are filed. We often succeed in negotiating settlements with probation officers and district attorneys which are acceptable to our clients without a hearing.

Mitigation - Sentencing 

We develop and present evidence that shows that probation should not be revoked and that you do not need to be punished with jail or prison to prevent you from violating probation again or to get you to property perform the conditions of probation, even if you have prior probation violations. Mitigation includes turning negatives into positives.

Turning Negatives Into Positives

Courts use probation conditions to address the causes of the criminal behavior including alcohol and drug use. Often the same problems which caused the original criminal behavior hold persons back from fulfilling the terms of probation. We focus on showing the Court our clients willingness and progress in dealing with such problems and point out that the proper measure of performance on probation is progress rather than perfection.

Probation Violations

When a person is sentenced for a misdemeanor or felony crime the person is placed on Probation and is required to do and not to do certain things called Conditions of Probation. 

The most common ways people violate probation conditions are new criminal activity, failure to do treatment, community service, report to their Probation Officer or pay fines, court fees or restitution. 

If a person is on Bench probation or Enhanced Bench Probation and the court receives word that the person has violated his or her probation, the court issues a citation (show cause) which orders the person to appear to answer as to whether or not the person has related his or her probation conditions. The court will attach a statement informing the person of the basis of the violation. 

If a person is on Formal or Supervised probation and the probation officer receives information that a violation has occurred, the probation officer can arrest the person or send a report to the court and have the persons cited into court. Often probation officers will call the person in for an appointment or wait until the person's next visit and arrest the person. Sometimes they will go to the person's house or place of employment to arrest them. 

If the person does not appear on the date the person is cited into court, a Failure To Appear warrant will be issued for the person's arrest. Judges usually include a condition in the warrant that the person be held without bail until the hearing. 

Among the services we provide to retained clients related to probation violation hearings are the following:

We help our clients resolve problems before they become probation violation allegations. If you are having problems satisfying your probation officer, sometimes we can help you get things straightened out before you are arrested or "referred" for a probation violation proceeding. Do not disobey a probation officer without first getting a legal opinion from a knowledgeable and experienced criminal lawyer. 

The sooner we get involved, the sooner we can make a plan and take steps to avoid bad consequences for you. We often succeed in clearing probation violation arrest warrants and getting our clients back into the system without having to spend any or a significant amount of time in jail. 

More About Probation Violation Hearings

Many persons who have probation violation warrants have to stay in jail until their probation violation hearing. Some of our Multnomah County, Portland, clients do not go to jail at all on the probation relation warrants. Some out our Clackamas County clients do not have to do any time in jail to get back into the system and most do less than a day. Most of our Washington County, Hillsboro, clients spend less than a day in jail getting back into the system. 

We often represent persons who have been on abscond status and who have had outstanding warrants for quite some time, even years. In some counties we can negotiate resolutions for clients before they return to the State Of Oregon. Many only have to attend one court proceeding. 

We get many clients released from custody while they are waiting for their probation violation hearing, even in cases where there is a no bail hold. Often we are able to persuade the judge who issued the warrant to release the no bail hold so that the client does not have to stay in jail until the hearing. Oregon law requires that the probation violation hearings be held within 14 days of the date of arrest if the person is held in custody. 

Prior to the probation relation hearing we negotiate with the probation officer and/or the District Attorney to attempt to resolve issues in an amicable manner or at least get things calmed down before the hearing.

We resolve cases without a hearing. In some cases when a person is being supervised by the Department Of Corrections or county department of community corrections, the person may admit or deny allegations of probation violations and agree to specific sanctions known as intermediate sanctions. These sanctions may include jail, house arrest, additional conditions of probation but not 

If we can not negotiate a resolution of the matter, we prepare our clients for the probation violation hearing to maximize their chances for avoiding unwanted results. Our plans are usually successful, when our clients follow our instructions. 

The two main issues to be decided at most probation violation hearings are whether there was a violation and, if so, what to do about the violation. 

Before we get to the factual issue of whether or not you related any of your probation conditions, we make sure that the hearing is being brought and conducted without relating any of your statutory or constitutional due process rights. We make sure that the condition of probation in question was 
lawfully ordered by the Court and is legal and enforceable. 

Then, if you agree with the allegation that there has been a rotation of the terms of probation, we admit the relation and move on to the question of what the judge should do about the violation.

If you disagree with the allegation that there was a relation, then we have a hearing and fight the allegation. Both sides can put on witnesses and other evidence. If there is a Probation Officer, he or she will appear and give evidence is support of the allegations and make recommendations to the court on what to do about the alleged violation. We present evidence, call witnesses and help you testify on your own behalf. The State must prove that there was a violation by a preponderance of the evidence - that it is more likely than not that you committed the violation. 

The most commonly violated conditions of probation are pay fines fees and restitution, obey all laws, report to Probation Supervisor, report to jail, perform community service and perform treatment conditions. These are fairly easy matters to prove one way or the other. Other issues are more difficult to 
prove, like whether or not the defendant had contact with a certain person. 

After both sides have submitted all of their evidence, the court hears the legal and factual arguments of counsel and makes its decision. If the court finds that there was no violation, then the case is over. 

If the court finds that the re has been a violation, then the question is what should the Judge do about the violation. The court can continue or revoke probation, impose penalties, add or delete conditions of probation, modify the conditions of probation, or extend probation. 

The first question the judge must decide is whether to continue or revoke probation.

The decision to revoke or continue probation is based on balancing the hope for offender reformation against the fear for public safety. The court has to decide if there is still hope that the purposes of probation will be fulfilled. 

The Judge considers the recommendations of the probation officer, if any, the district attorney, defense witnesses and defense attorney in deciding whether or not to revoke probation. 

We present persuasive evidence and arguments that the purposes of probation are being served by continuing probation. We show reasons for the court to find that there is hope for your reformation and reasons to believe that you are not a threat to public safety. We let the court know all of the things you have done and are doing correctly and present witnesses on your behalf to show that probation is working. 

If the judge continues probation, the judge must then decide if and what penalties should be imposed for the violation and whether or not to extend the period of probation and add or change probation conditions. Penalties can include jail and community sentence. 

We suggest alternatives to jail sanctions which do not interfere with continued progress or disrupt treatment or employment. In some cases we suggest changes in the probation conditions, to make them more effective in achieving the purposes of probation. 

We have enjoyed a great deal of success in achieve our client's goals with regard to sanctions in Probation Violation Hearings. 

If the judge revokes probation you will be sent to jail or prison depending on whether you were on probation for a misdemeanor or felony conviction. The length of your incarceration will depend, in large part, upon the terms of the original Judgment of Conviction. 

If you were convicted of a misdemeanor and the imposition of sentence is suspended, the court can impose any sentence it could have imposed at the original sentencing. For example is you were convicted of DUII, the judge could have sentenced you to up to 365 days in jail. If you rotate your probation the judge can still sentence you to up to 365 days in jail less any time you have already spent in jail. 

If you were convicted of a misdemeanor and the judge imposed a sentence and suspended execution of the sentence, then the judge has to impose the entire suspended sentence. For example, if you were convicted of DUII and the judge sentenced you to 90 days in jail and suspended 80 days. You would serve 10 days right away and the entire other 80 days if you related your probation. 

If you were convicted of a felony with a Presumptive Probationary sentence under the Oregon Felony Sentencing Guidelines, the revocation sanction is generally 6 months in prison but can be as much as 12 months in prison depending upon a number of factors. 

If you were convicted of a felony with a Presumptive Prison Sentence under the Oregon Felony Sentencing Guidelines, the revocation sanction is the entire presumptive prison sentence less any time you have already served. 

There are many factors to consider in determining the correct revocation sanction in a felony sentencing guidelines case. 

Very few of our clients, who follow our instructions, have their probations revoked at probation violation hearings.

Contact Us

To talk to a Criminal Defense Lawyer, call (503) 506-2836 We take emergency calls 24 hours a day.

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  • Compassionate & Effective Representation
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