Probation In Colorado
In the state of Colorado, after a defendant pleads guilty or is found guilty of an offense, they are often placed on probation. Probation is a means by which the court retains jurisdiction of a defendant, and requires him to complete various conditions of focused toward treatment and rehabilitation in an effort to avoid more serious consequences like incarceration. Probation also ensures that defendants don't commit any new offenses. Judges in Colorado have wide latitude regarding conditions that they can impose in conjunction with a criminal case. The classic example is judges who order alcohol classes when a defendant is convicted of DUI or DWAI, however they can impose virtually any conditions that they decide are related to a defendants rehabilitation. If you successfully complete the term of probation, then you are discharged and the court no longer has jurisdiction over you. If you violate any terms of probation, you can be charged with Violation of Probation.
Violation of Probation
The decision of whether or not to charge someone with Violation of Probation is in the hands of the Probation department, and the prosecuting attorney. Probation officers often do not want to file revocation complaints against defendants unless they have no other options. These complaints can be filed based on something as simple as missed Urinalysis tests, or something as serious as a new criminal conviction. Probation officers have an array of sanctions that they can impose prior to filing a violation, such as increased monitoring or requests to extend the length of probation. Because of this power that the probation officer holds, it is very important to attempt to maintain a positive relationship with your probation officer. If a complaint for violation of probation is filed, then the case is referred back to the trial judge who will hear the complaint.
Defendants who are charged with violating their probation are exposed to any potential penalties that they faced in their underlying charge. For example, if you were on probation for a theft conviction which carried a maximum jail sentence of 1 year, the court could impose the 1 year jail sentence originally available to them, but no more. Most judges do impose some sort of punitive sanction, because they view the case as one in which the defendant has already had a chance and has failed.
The Role of the Prosecutor
The role of the prosecutor varies depending on your jurisdiction. Some district attorneys (DAs) take a very active role in probation violation
cases, while others defer to the probation officer supervising the defendant. In either case, defense attorneys are able to represent people charged with violation of probation, and are able to negotiate with the DA or the probation officer to lessen the sentence. If the parties agree on a stipulated sentence for the violation, the judge is bound to accept that agreement.