Criminal Cases and Violations of Probation

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If you violate probation in Maryland, the Court can reinstate the maximum sentence. When the Court givegremlin.jpgs conditions of probation in a criminal case, defendants may not realize their significance. Defendants are amenable because at that moment probation is the best outcome, and usually involves a suspended or partially suspended sentence, nolle prosequi of other charges, shortened incarceration or the golden ticket of dispositions, probation before judgement. If a Defendant fails to comply with the conditions of probation, the consequences are often disastrous. Some common conditions associated with DUI/DWI convictions include alcohol treatment, alcoholics anonymous, MADD victim impact panel, interlock, abstention from alcohol, essays and community service. Some common conditions associated with theft and other related felonies include no subsequent offenses, community service and restitution. These conditions remain until the period of probation is completed. If a condition must be completed before probation ends, and is not, a violation of probation will occur. Conditions of probation and the possible consequences of a violation of probation remind me of the classic 80's movie Gremlins.

I can remember when the movie Gremlins came out in 1984. It was actually a horror/Christmas movie. A very unique genre of film. In the beginning of the film, the father gives the son a really cool Mogwai named Gizmo as a pet (probation). Gizmo comes with two rules, don't get it wet or feed it after midnight (conditions of probation). The son accidently spills a glass of water on Gizmo and several additional Mogwai are spawned. Unfortunately, they are not nice like Gizmo. Then he accidently feeds the new Mogwai after midnight. Obviously, these two mistakes are the equivalent of violations of probation. If you have seen the movie, you know what happens next. The newly spawned Mogwai turn into evil Gremlins and proceed to terrorize and destroy a small town.

A violation of probation could have disastrous effects depending on the nature and number of the violations, and the severity of the underlying sentence that the original probation sought to avoid. Defendants in violation of probation are hauled off to jail everyday. A probation before judgement is almost always stricken and instead a guilty verdict is entered. I recently represented a client at a show cause hearing in the Anne Arundel District Court for Maryland because he failed to make any restitution payments in three years and, as a result, violated his probation. He was originally sentenced to three years incarceration, of which three were suspended, and three years supervised probation. The judge could have thrown him in jail for three years because a violation of probation allows the Court to impose the remaining sentence. However, an experienced Maryland criminal attorney can show that a violation did not occur because of various factors such as mistake, unemployment, economic hardship and other extenuating circumstances. Ultimately, the Court gave my client ninety more days to pay the restitution amount in full. If he doesn't the Gremlins are coming.

If you, or someone you know, has been charged with a violation of probation or any other criminal or driving offense please contact our Maryland criminal defense lawyers for a free legal consultation or visit us on the web at

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