Probation Attorney Serving St. Louis, Missouri
In Missouri, probation is an alternative form of punishment to incarceration. Typically, if you either plead guilty or are found guilty, then you can be sentenced to a fine, jail time, or a combination of the two. However, depending on your criminal history background, as well as the particular facts of your case, you could be eligible for probation.
Probation comes in two forms in Missouri: Suspended Imposition of Sentence or Suspended Execution of Sentence.
Suspended Imposition of Sentence
Otherwise known as an SIS probation, a Suspended Imposition of Sentence means that you have either entered a plea of guilty or been found guilty by a jury or court. However it happens, there is a record of guilt for the crime charged. But not a record of conviction.
If you receive an SIS, then rather than imposing a sentence the Court will suspend the imposition and place you on probation for a period of time. How much time you will wind up being on probation depends on the crime for which you have been found guilty. For Municipal Infractions: 6 months to 1 year. For Misdemeanors: 6 months to 2 years. And for Felonies: 1 year to 5 years.
The Key Point to Note: SIS means Probation, No Conviction
At any point during your probation, if you should violate the terms of probation then you could have your SIS converted into an SES; or, the Court could impose a sentence and execute upon it. This means that you could go to jail if you violate your probation. The most likely way of violating your probation is by getting charged with a subsequent offense while on probation.
Suspended Execution of Sentence
Otherwise known as an SES probation, a Suspended Execution of Sentence, just like with an SIS, means that you have either entered a plea of guilty or been found guilty by a jury or court. But not only is there a finding of guilt, the Judge will also impose a sentence and you will receive a conviction.
Rather than executing on your sentence (this simply means that the Court is enforcing the terms of your sentence, i.e. if you're sentenced to a year in jail then the Court executes on that sentence by making you serve your time in jail), with an SES the Court will suspend the execution and place you on probation for a period of time. Again, the amount of time you are on probation is dependent on what you have been convicted of doing. For Municipal Infractions: 6 months to 1 year. For Misdemeanors: 6 months to 2 years. And for Felonies: 1 year to 5 years.
The Key Point to Note: SES means Probation, With a Conviction
At any point during your probation, if you should violate the terms of probation the Court could execute on your sentence. This means that you will most likely go to jail if you violate your probationary terms.
For any number of reasons, your Probation Officer may find reason to think you have violated the terms of your probation. The reasons include, but are not limited to: Moving without informing your Probation Officer of your new address, not showing up to probation meetings, missing drug tests, failing drug tests, being arrested or charged with a new offense, etc.
You have certain Constitutional rights though, so you cannot simply have your probation revoked. The Probation Officer, Prosecuting Attorney, and the Court must follow Due Process.
Due Process means: Notice and a Hearing.
If you are believed to have violated your probation, then the Probation Officer will file a Notice of Violation with the Court. The Court will then place the matter on its docket and send your notice to the address of record you gave to your Probation Officer. So you better make sure that they have your current address. Depending on the underlying charge, a warrant may be issued for your arrest for a probation violation.
At the hearing, you will have an opportunity to be informed of the specific actions you allegedly took which are being deemed probation violations. You can either admit the allegations are true, or ask the Court to hold a hearing. The hearing will be Civil in nature, not Criminal. This means there is a lower burden of proof that the Prosecutor will have to overcome to show that you violated the terms of your probation as alleged in the violation notice.
Because a Probation Revocation Hearing is a matter of Civil law the Prosecutor does not have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you violated your probation.
[T]he sufficiency of the evidence to support a criminal conviction [is] not applicable to a parole revocation proceeding. The degree of proof necessary for parole or probation revocation is less than that required to sustain a criminal conviction. The hearing judge need only be reasonably satisfied that the terms of the parole have been violated[.] State v. Wilhite, 492 SW 2d 397 - Mo: Court of Appeals 1973 (emphasis added).
If a Court finds sufficient evidence to believe that you have committed the alleged probation violations, then the Court can enter an order revoking your probation. Alternatively, the Court could extend your probation by up to a year or convert it from an SIS to an SES. The Court could also add conditions to your probation, such as Community Service, etc.
If you are currently on probation and believe that you are going to be facing a revocation proceeding, contact Anthony Bretz now to discuss your case. You will not have much time before your hearing. Hiring an experienced Missouri Criminal Defense Attorney can be the difference between going to prison and getting another chance. Know your rights.