In legal proceedings, probation is sometimes offered to offenders upon conviction as an alternative to a jail or prison sentence. Although the life of a probationer is more restricted than a non-probationer’s, in most cases probation is preferable to spending time behind bars.
The terms of probation are at the discretion of a judge, but generally a probationer must meet all the conditions or the probation may be terminated. A violation of probation (VOP), whether it is substantive or technical, may result in the termination of probation and the imposition of a sentence behind bars anyway.
If you have been accused of a violation of probation in New York City, or if you are concerned that your probation officer may soon accuse you of a probation violation, you should contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can explain probation under Section 65 of New York Penal Law and Section 410 of New York Criminal Procedure Law.
Greco Neyland, PC assists people who are on probation, including people who have been accused of a probation violation, people concerned about a possibly impending VOP, people who wish to transfer their probation to another state, or people who have other probation issues.
In a VOP case, it is important to have a Manhattan criminal defense lawyer who can give your case the personal attention it requires to obtain the best result. Public defenders have a huge caseload, and are usually unable to help with probation issues or anything else after a criminal trial concludes. At Greco Neyland, PC, we spend the time to thoroughly examine each client’s situation so that we can find the best course of action.
With Greco Neyland, PC, you will have a former prosecutor fighting on your side. We know how the system works because we used to be part of the system. We use our knowledge to put our clients in the best possible position going forward. We represent clients on probation in New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, and all five NYC boroughs. Call us today at (212) 951-1300 to schedule your free consultation.
New York Criminal Procedure Law, Part 2, Title L, Article 410 explains sentences of probation and conditional discharge. Probation is a sentence or disposition imposed by a criminal court or a family court. Usually, probationers are released into the community without having to serving any time in jail or prison.
In certain circumstances, a probationer may have to serve a small amount of time in jail as part of the agreement; this is known as a “split sentence.” In these instances, the time served in jail comes at the beginning of the term of probation, and the time in jail counts toward time spent on probation.
It is also possible that a court may place a person on “interim probation supervision.” When a court determines that a person is eligible for probation and the defendant agrees, the court has the option to adjourn the sentencing for up to one year from the date of conviction and place a defendant under interim probation supervision.
It is important to note that being placed on interim supervision does not guarantee a sentence to probation at the end of the interim period. However, if a defendant satisfactorily completes a term of interim probation supervision he or she shall receive credit for the time served under the period of interim supervision toward any probation sentence that is subsequently imposed in that case.
For example, if you are on interim probation for one year and then receive a sentence of three years probation at the end of the interim probation, you only need two more years to complete your probation. Interim supervision may be terminated at any time, and you may be sent to jail if you violate the terms of your interim supervision.
Typically, probation in New York lasts three years for misdemeanors and five years for felonies. Judges have wide discretion in setting the terms of probation. New York Penal Law, Part 2, Title E, Article 65.10 outlines standard conditions of probation, including requirements that a probationer must:
A number of additional conditions may be opposed depending on the offense, especially for people on probation for sex offenses or drunk driving.
If your probation officer thinks you have violated the terms of your probation, the probation officer may file a Violation of Probation (VOP) with the court that sentenced you to probation. You will then be ordered to appear in court before the judge who initially sentenced you (or another judge in the same court if that judge is unavailable).
A probation officer has a much lower burden of proof than a prosecutor does during a trial. Instead of “innocent until proven guilty,” the probation officer must only demonstrate a “preponderance of evidence,” which means the judge needs only to find it more likely than not that you violated the terms of your probation.
This means that if you are accused of committing a new crime while being on probation, your probation can be terminated based on evidence that is not enough to convict you of that crime, even if you are found not guilty of the new crime at trial or the prosecutor drops the case.
If a judge determines you are in violation of probation, the judge has discretion in deciding what your punishment will be. The judge may allow you to remain on probation, probably with some additional conditions. You may be sent to a drug or alcohol treatment center. Unfortunately, in many cases, the judge will decide that you have used up all your chances and sentence you to jail or prison for your original crime as if you had never been on probation.
There are two types of probation violations, both of them serious: “substantive” violations such as committing a new crime while on probation; and “technical” violations of administrative terms of your probation.
Your probation can be terminated as a result of either type of violation, which will result in you ending up behind bars. If your probation is terminated, you will not get any credit for time spent on probation, even if you were almost finished with your probation time period.
If you wish to move to another state while on probation, you must first obtain approval to transfer your probation to the new state.
Approval will depend on a number of factors, primarily whether you have been on good behavior and in compliance with your probation terms, and whether you can find a job and housing in the new place where you wish to live.
New York Criminal Procedure Law, Part 2, Title L, Article 410 — Read the New York state laws pertaining to sentences of probation and conditional discharge.
New York Penal Law, Part 2, Title E, Article 65 — Read the New York state laws that outline the standard conditions of probation.
New York City Department of Probation — The New York City Department of Probation helps build stronger and safer communities by working with and supervising people on probation by fostering positive change in their decision-making and behavior, and expanding opportunities for them to move out of the criminal and juvenile justice systems through meaningful education, employment, health services, family engagement, and civic participation.
New York City Department of Probation
Ana Bermudez, Commissioner
33 Beaver Street, Room 2310
New York, NY 10004-2306
Office of Probation of Correctional Alternatives (OPCA) — The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services operates the Office of Probation and Correctional Alternatives. The OPCA web site contains information about probation and correctional alternatives, including a list of frequently asked questions and answers.
If you have a problem with your probation officer and wish to file a complaint, you may file a written complaint by mailing it to:NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services
The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Office of Victim Services — Crime victims can learn the status of offenders on this web site, including whether an offender is currently locked up or on probation.NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
The Future of Probation in New York State — This 205-page report, prepared by a Blue Ribbon committee of legal heavyweights, was presented to the Chief Judge of the State of New York in 2008 and contains insights into the formulation of probation policy.
Whether you are on probation in New York City or you have violated probation, you may need an attorney to guide you through the process and make sure you complete probation successfully and do not end up behind bars.
The skilled criminal defense attorneys at Greco Neyland, PC are experienced in all aspects of probation and will work with you to help you avoid any problems throughout your time on probation.
We serve clients throughout the five boroughs of New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx. Contact the dedicated lawyers at Greco Neyland, PC today by calling (212) 951-1300 to schedule a free consultation about your probation case.