A defendant who has been given probation or a suspended sentence is expected to comply with myriad obligations during the time when he is on probation. For a felony, this time period could last up to five years and for a gross misdemeanor this time period could last up to three years. The conditions and obligations imposed upon a defendant could be burdensome, as a probationer could be restricted from traveling outside the area; could be required to maintain a job; could be mandated to do community service; and could be required to submit to chemical testing for controlled substances. This is just a small sampling of all the possible requirements that a probationer could be required to meet over a period of months or years.
With so many rules and restrictions, some probationers are accused of violating their probation. When you are accused of a probation violation, a court could issue a warrant for arrest or a probation officer, parole officer, or other legal authority in Nevada could arrest you. When arrested, you could either be jailed in the county jail pending a probable cause determination or you could be subject to residential confinement until it is determined whether there is probable cause you violated probation. Being jailed or subject to house arrest can have a significant impact on your life. If you are ultimately found to have violated probation, you could also face additional penalties including an extension of your probation, new conditions being placed upon your probation, or incarceration.
It is imperative that you understand your rights when an accusation has been made that you violated probation. This means understanding the entirety of Nevada’s rules of criminal procedure related to inquiries into probation violations. LV Criminal Defense understands these rules and can provide you with comprehensive insight into what your options are. Our legal team can advise you as to your options and can represent you as you try to argue that there is insufficient probable cause to move forward with a probation violation hearing.
Nevada law sets forth the rules regarding an inquiry to determine probable cause after a probation violation in N.R.S. 176A.580 through N.R.S. 176A.610:
An accusation that you have committed a probation violation must be taken seriously, so you should contact an attorney as soon as a court, probation officer, or other law enforcement agent indicates that you have violated probation terms.
According to N.R.S. 176A.580, an inquiry into a probation violation has to be conducted before you are returned to the court that initially sentenced you to probation so the court can determine whether the violation occurred. The inquiry is to determine if there is actually probable cause to move forward with going to court or not. The inquiry has to take place within 30 days of the time of an arrest for a probation violation if you’re under supervision in Nevada but are on probation from another state. If you are on probation from a Nevada court and under supervision in Nevada, the inquiry must take place within 15 days from the time of arrest and confinement triggered by the alleged probation violation.
The inquiry must be held near the location of the arrest or the alleged violation, except in cases where the probationer is a fugitive or where the probationer is under supervision in another state. The inquiry has to be conducted before an inquiring officer who isn’t directly involved in the case; who wasn’t the person who reported the alleged probation violation; and who hasn’t made any recommendations regarding revoking the defendant’s probation. It is highly recommended that you retained an expert criminal defense attorney in Las Vegas before you proceed. The probationer should be returned to court for a decision on whether the probation violation occurred only if this inquirer determines that there is probable cause to move forward. However, there is an exception if the probationer is convicted of any violation of state, federal, or local law (except for minor traffic offenses) while on probation. A violation of the law allows for the probationer to come before the court which put him on probation without a probable cause inquiry being conducted first.
The probationer has the right to be provided with notice of the inquiry, according to N.R.S. 176A.600. The notice must include details on the place and time of the inquiry, its purpose, and the violations that have been alleged. This statute also gives the probationer the right to speak on his own behalf, obtain counsel, present evidence, question witnesses, and confront and question any person who is making accusations against him unless disclosure of the accuser’s identity would put the accuser at risk of harm.
N.R.S. 176A.590 provides details on when and how witnesses and evidence may be subpoenaed to be presented during the inquiry and N.R.S. 176A.610 provides information on the duties of the inquiring officer. The inquiring officer must determine if there is probable cause, and must make a written summary of what occurred during the inquiry which notes the evidence he believes supports a revocation of probation. If the inquiring officer determines there is probable cause, the defendant could either be jailed pending a court hearing at the court which originally ordered probation or could be ordered to remain in residential confinement pending such a hearing.
LV Criminal Defense can provide assistance during an inquiry to determine probable cause of a probation violation. The stakes are high, as you could face confinement and jail time, as well as further legal proceedings against you. Give us a call today to speak with a Las Vegas defense lawyer who can help you.