Can I Fight A Probation Violation Charge?

Can I Fight A Probation Violation Charge?

Probation allows you to serve your sentence without being behind bars, but you are required to follow a strict set of probation terms, which may include visits to a probation officer, attending counseling, and/or treatment programs.

If you fail to comply with the terms, your probation could be revoked and you can serve jail time.

What Happens If I’m Accused Of Violating Probation?

You will likely be arrested and placed in custody until your probation violation hearing. At your hearing, the court will determine if you are guilty of violating one or more of the terms of your probation.

The Prosecutor needs to prove that you violated probation with a “preponderance of the evidence,” which means that it is – more likely than not – that you did violate probation.

If the court finds a violation, the judge will either revoke your probation terms and impose a jail sentence, or let you remain on probation with additional or stricter terms.

Protect Yourself.

At your hearing, your defense lawyer may present an argument with potential evidence that shows you did not violate your probation or that the violation was not intentional, leading to the possible dismissal of your charges or limiting your punishment.

If you or someone you love has been accused of violating probation, don’t face the charges alosne.

Defense attorney Nathan Akamine will help you. He is a former Franklin County Prosecutor and he has successfully defended clients at probation violation hearings for 20+ years.

 

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The Difference Between a Bench Warrant and Arrest Warrant

The Difference Between a Bench Warrant and Arrest Warrant

No warrant that you receive should be ignored. It will still exist in your file and failing to act on these official court records will complicate your case and could cause jail time.

What is an arrest warrant?

An arrest warrant must first be approved by a judge before it can be executed, but only after investigators present their findings with compelling evidence. Once the arrest warrant has been issued, law enforcement agents have the power to search for you and place you under arrest.

Following your arrest, you’ll be processed (booked) at a police station to establish proper identification, and your fingerprints and facial photographs (mugshot) will be taken by the police for entry into the legal database.

What is a bench warrant?

Bench warrants are issued for “failure to appear” or capias warrants and are the most frequently issued type of warrant. They are different from arrest warrants in that they are not issued at the beginning of criminal proceedings, but rather issued for your failure to appear at a hearing at a specific point in the criminal process.

When a bench warrant is issued, a police officer may not necessarily visit your home to carry out (execute) a bench warrant, but if an officer engages you over something else, like a traffic infraction, and runs your name through the computer, he/she will find the bench warrant and probably detain you.

How do I know if a warrant has been issued?

In either case, you can take proactive measures to find out if a court issued a warrant against you. You can search the court database online, or hire a criminal defense lawyer to do it for you. Your appearance date will be specified in the court’s paperwork, along with any penalties for missing it.

Search the public record using Franklin County Municipal Clerk Lori Tyack’s Court Access and Search Engine (CASE).

PLEASE NOTE: all individuals with outstanding warrants are strongly encouraged to contact a criminal defense attorney.

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5 Ways to Fight Drug Possession Charges

5 Ways to Fight Drug Possession Charges

If you’re facing drug charges, the uncertainty of your future can be scary. You could be facing severe penalties.

There are steps you can take to protect yourself and prove your innocence.

1. Knowing search and seizure

What were the circumstances surrounding your arrest? If the police entered your home or car without probable cause, a warrant, or your permission, then they violated your Fourth Amendment rights.

As such, any drugs or substances taken as evidence cannot be used against you in court. After the substances are dismissed as evidence – the charges usually follow.

2. Obtaining the chain of custody

Evidence collected by the police will begin a sequential chain of custody. Chain of custody is the movement and location of physical evidence from the time it’s obtained until the time it is presented in court.

Evidence rooms and labs can get extremely busy. It’s not unusual for the police or prosecution to misplace evidence while it goes between detectives and evidence rooms. We’ll examine the proof of the chain of custody. If the prosecution cannot find the substances seized from you, they must dismiss your charges.

3. Proving ownership

Circumstantial evidence may be enough to detain you, but it also creates doubt in a jury’s mind. There is a possibility that drugs found in your home or car don’t belong to you. Prosecutors will link any illegal items found in your possession to you, but a skilled defense lawyer will help break that link.

4. Lab analysis

If the police took something from you that they suspected was drugs, but you know it’s not, the lab results should come back negative. But what if the seized substances come back positive as an illegal drug?

As your lawyer, we’ll question crime lab results. It’s possible that the substance they seized was lost in the chain of custody, or that the prosecution may have submitted the wrong evidence to the lab. The results of a crime lab may be the salvation you need to prove your innocence.

5. Were you framed?

While most officers of the law are upstanding members of the police force, there are those that are unethical. If you think you’ve been framed, talk to a lawyer and give them the specifics of your arrest.

Let’s look at two examples;

  • Entrapment
    Entrapment happens when a law enforcement agent has you commit a crime you wouldn’t normally do. An officer of the law cannot force you to buy, sell, take, or hold drugs under any kind of threat.
  • Planted Evidence
    Planted evidence is an item that has been placed at a scene. Planted evidence is not admissible in court. As technology advances, more police departments are using body cameras for the protection of both the accused and the police. However, some have covered their cameras or turned them off when they do something they shouldn’t.

A good lawyer will know to request all body camera footage, question officers if the cameras were turned off, and get all radio transmissions and texts during your arrest. It’s also a good idea to review the disciplinary history of the arresting officer(s).

Protect your freedom

Together we will fight to protect your freedom, your future, and your reputation.

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How to Choose the Right Criminal Defense Lawyer for Your Case

How to Choose the Right Criminal Defense Lawyer for Your Case

If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, it’s in your best interest to seek legal counsel immediately. Even seemingly minor crimes can still result in a criminal record and harsh sentences, and having a record can haunt you for years, limiting your life, from where you work to where you live.

The reality is, when it comes to criminal defense, not all lawyers are created equal. The outcome of your case is largely dependent on having the right lawyer fighting for you. A Google search turns up thousands of results. All claiming to be the right attorney for you. So, how do you know who to choose?

Although the nature and severity of the alleged crime will factor heavily into how your case is handled, any person who is charged with a crime should ensure that their lawyer meets all of the following criteria.

1. Experience with the Charges You are Facing

Hiring an attorney who specializes in white collar crimes may not be the best choice to fight your sexual assault charge. Criminal law is complex and ever evolving, so it’s essential to work with a lawyer who has extensive experience in the specific crime with which you’ve been charged.

Do your homework and hire a lawyer who has a deep understanding of exactly what you’re going through.

2. Comfortability

Most law firms offer a free initial consultation. I recommend taking advantage of it. This will give you the opportunity to ask questions and see how you interact together. Personal chemistry is an underrated, yet very important factor when choosing legal representation. If you don’t feel comfortable with your lawyer, the legal process is going to be unnecessarily long and painful, and the outcome is less likely to be favorable.

The best lawyer-client relationships are collaborative. When you trust your lawyer, the relationship becomes more of a partnership, and the chances of a successful outcome increase dramatically.

Use these questions as a guide to determine if the lawyer you’re interviewing is right for you.

  • Am I comfortable talking openly to them?
  • Does my lawyer explain things in a way that I can understand?
  • Does my lawyer seem genuinely concerned about me and the outcome of my case?
  • Does my lawyer seem trustworthy?
  • Does my lawyer appear confident?

3. Word of Mouth and Online Reviews

One of the best ways to find a good defense lawyer is word of mouth. If you know someone who has been in a similar situation, ask who they used for legal counsel and if they were happy with their results. However, just because a lawyer was a good fit for someone else, doesn’t make them a good fit for you. So, don’t just take a name and run with it. Make sure you have the consultation, then do some online digging. With the wealth of information available on the internet, there is no excuse to not do your homework.

Choosing the right defense lawyer may be one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Check the state bar association website to see if the lawyer has a record of formal discipline, and search for reviews on Facebook and Google.

IMPORTANT TIP: Although reviews can assist in guiding you, they should not be taken as the deciding factor in your end decision.

One bad review shouldn’t necessarily keep you from working with a particular lawyer, but several bad reviews should be a clear red flag. The same goes for good reviews. Just because a lawyer has 2,000 good reviews and another has 200, doesn’t mean one lawyer is better than the other. A criminal case is a personal and private matter that a lot of people don’t feel comfortable sharing with the world. So, don’t let a lack of reviews stop you from scheduling a consultation either.

4. Courtroom Confidence

If your case moves to trial, you want to know that your lawyer has confidence in the courtroom. In addition to specifically asking about courtroom experience, a lawyer’s appearance and demeanor can give big clues as to how they will perform in a courtroom. If they are neatly dressed, well spoken, and confident, these characteristics will bode well in a courtroom setting.

On the other hand, if a lawyer appears nervous or disheveled, their arguments may be less convincing to a judge and jury. As with most things, exceptions exist, but confidence is generally the hallmark of any successful trial lawyer.

It is also important that your lawyer can take direction from you. Although they will control certain aspects of your case, like filing motions and calling witnesses, the big decisions, like whether to plead guilty or go to trial, or whether to try to make a deal, are YOUR call. Look for an attorney who takes the time to get to know you and your goals, and who actively integrates your input into the legal strategy.

5. Listen to Your Gut

At the end of the day, trust your instincts. If something feels off, don’t be afraid to walk away. Remember, you are interviewing the defense lawyer, not the other way around. Ultimately, this is your battle to fight, and you need the right lawyer by your side if you’re going to win.

If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges and in need of an experienced criminal lawyer, please contact Nathan Akamine.

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Violating probation: What to expect.

Violating probation: What to expect.

If you’ve violated probation and now find yourself facing a possible conviction, you don’t deserve punishment due to an oversight or accident, regardless of why you’re serving probation. As your probation violation attorney, my number one priority will be convincing the judge not to inflict severe repercussions for a simple fault in judgment.

What can I expect from the probation violation process?

Although different than a normal criminal case, probation violations generally follow the same process:

  1. Your probation officer will inform the court that you have violated one or more probation requirements.
  2. The court will schedule a probation hearing and/or authorize a warrant for your arrest.
  3. If you’re arrested, there will be a hearing and a bond could be set.
  4. You’ll receive a Statement of Violations, where you’ll be informed of the terms of probation that you allegedly violated.
  5. You are entitled to a Probable Cause hearing to determine if there is a reasonable basis for the alleged violation.
  6. You are also entitled to an Evidentiary Hearing in which the State must prove that a violation did occur.

What are the possible consequences of violating probation?

  • Perform community service
  • The length of your probation may be extended.
  • There may be additional restrictions added to your probation, such as an earlier curfew.
  • You may be forced to have regular drug testing or ordered into drug treatment.
  • You could be ordered to attend classes or programs based on the offense (such as anger management).
  • Counseling with a therapist on a regular basis.
  • You could be sentenced to serve time in jail.

Whichever judge assigned the initial probation ruling will also be the judge determining the appropriate punishment for the violation. This is important to note, since they may feel as though they did the defendant a favor when worse consequences could have been originally dealt. Because of this, the judge could decide a harsher punishment than is now necessary.

Therefore, it’s important to your case to have a probation violation attorney speak on your behalf, as this can make the difference between fulfilling a minor repercussion or serving jail time.

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