We have all heard the familiar “you have the right to remain silent” bit that is commonly referred to as the Miranda rights. The rights are referred to this way because that was the name of the accused in the landmark case where the U.S. Supreme Court made clear what rights criminal defendants have upon arrest. The problem with this case is that while it seems straightforward, over the years the basic rights given in this case have been chipped away. Taking away certain legal rights is not a new or novel idea, and it happens all the time. Both sides to a lawsuit do not usually agree on the outcome and the party who feels the law has come down on the wrong side can appeal, or it is possible to have a litigant use a case years later in a way that was not envisioned when the ruling was originally made. This system of appeals and legal interpretation makes it hard to know exactly what you are entitled to and where the line is drawn.

One place in the law where it is crucial to know your rights is when you are on probation. Most times the rules are pretty easy to understand and include things like staying out of trouble, avoiding subsequent arrests, and not getting any tickets. If you are not able to keep your nose clean while on probation you will be charged with a probation violation and face the full punishment of your original charges as well as the punishment that goes along with violating probation. Here are three things about probation that make it feel like you are losing some of your rights:

  • Hearsay testimony, which is not normally allowed, can be used in a violation hearing.
  • The violation hearing may be scheduled quickly, which can feel like you are losing your right to have the time to develop a defense.
  • If you are charged with a violation you will no longer receive the benefit of the bargain you made in the first case, which seems like you are losing out on your right to plea.

In order to avoid this situation it is best to follow all of the rules of your probation. If you are unclear, speak up! It is perfectly acceptable to let your attorney or probation officer know you do not understand the terms of your probation. If you are not able to meet all of the terms the best thing to do is call your probation officer right away. Keeping in touch with your officer shows you are serious about successful completion of your probationary term, and there may be alternatives available to you when you find yourself in a pinch. Most importantly, if you are charged with violating probation call for help right away. The sooner you have someone on your side investigating the case, the better. Our team of knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys understands what it takes to stay the course during probation and can help you with all of your probation related needs.

For answers to questions about criminal cases, call an experienced criminal defense attorney today. Skilled criminal defense attorneys in Stuart and the Treasure Coast are here to help you reach workable solutions. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.