Being placed on probation means having to answer to a probation officer on a predetermined schedule as well as adhering to the terms of your probation. Whether those terms include not leaving the state or being subjected to random drug tests, any deviation or failure to meet those terms and appointments could have you facing a probation violation charge. What do you do when that violation was beyond your control? Here are some possible defenses you may be able to use.
Missed Probation Officer Appointments
If you miss a mandatory meeting with your probation officer, he or she can file a probation violation with the court. However, if there were extenuating circumstances, you may be able to have the charge dismissed. When it comes to these situations, though, extenuating circumstances are very limited.
In most cases, you are expected to contact your probation officer immediately if you cannot make it to an appointment. Whether you are ill or don't have a ride, these are inexcusable reasons if you fail to notify your probation officer and make other arrangements ahead of time.
If you are hospitalized, though, that may be a viable reason to have your probation violation dismissed. You'll have to be able to show proof that you contacted your probation officer as soon as it was reasonably possible, as well as documentation of your hospitalization.
The same typically holds true if you were in jail at the time of the meeting; however, you could find yourself facing a probation violation for the reason you were in jail if it's a violation of your probation terms. You'll have to show the booking record for your time in jail in order to claim this as a defense.
Failed Substance Abuse Test
For those who are in jail for any kind of drug charges, a substance abuse test requirement is commonly a part of the probation terms. You may be subject to random drug testing during your probation. Should you fail a drug test when your probation terms require you to abstain from controlled substances, you may face a probation violation.
However, if the substance that triggered the positive drug test was medically prescribed, you may be able to obtain an exception to the probation violation. Just remember that, in some states, opiates and medical marijuana are still prohibited under probation terms, even with a prescription.
Your criminal defense attorney can help you determine if the substance you were taking is legally permissible, and if so, he or she can obtain documentation from your doctor that shows that you were taking it with a valid prescription.
Another option for a failed substance abuse test is the potential for a false positive. If you know for a fact that you didn't consume the substance in question, your attorney can petition to have the accuracy of the test called into question.
Whether it means finding out about the last time the tests were calibrated or even evaluating the testing procedures for any potential contamination, if you can prove that the positive drug test was a false positive, you can have your probation violation dismissed and return to your daily routine.
With so many potential questions surrounding a probation violation, it is important that you contact a criminal defense attorney right away. Don't try to face a probation violation hearing by yourself if you don't have the legal expertise to do so. Your attorney will understand precisely how the laws are written to help you defend yourself, and can protect you from making potentially costly mistakes in court that could land you back in jail inadvertently. Reach out to a criminal defense lawyer at a firm like Glen Albright Law near you today for more information.