Probation for Drug Cases: What You Need to Know
When a defendant is convicted of a drug charge, whether it is a misdemeanor or felony, the judge must sentence him. The judge usually will sentence the defendant to serve jail-time for a specified period of time. In the judge’s discretion, he can suspend the jail sentence and place the defendant on probation. Essentially, the judge is giving the defendant a second chance.
Probation can either be supervised or unsupervised. Unsupervised probation is usually ordered by the judge for misdemeanor convictions. The judge will order a period of probation in which the defendant must complete conditions of probation, such as drug tests, substance abuse treatment, community service, rehabilitation classes, and pay fines and court costs. If the defendant comes back to court and shows proof of completing the conditions, without having been arrested or convicted during that time, the judge can terminate the probation satisfactorily.
Supervised probation, on the other hand, involves the defendant signing up for supervision with Louisiana Probation & Parole. He will be assigned a probation officer, who will supervise him. The judge may order the defendant to complete conditions of probation which may include paying monthly supervision fees.
If the probation officer believes that the defendant is not properly complying with probation or he has a new arrest, the probation officer can file a probation revocation hearing request, as well as obtaining probation warrants for his arrest. At the hearing, the judge will hear testimony from the probation officer and rule on the revocation. The defendant is given an opportunity to make his case as well. If the judge decides to revoke the probation, then the defendant will be ordered to serve the suspended jail sentence.
Probation in Drug Case in Louisiana
In the state of Louisiana, many drug-related cases end up in a settlement; however, in the event that a drug charge does go to trial, there is the possibility of a conviction. When there is a conviction on a drug-related case in Louisiana, because of the strict laws that guide the state in regards to drug charges, a sentence has to be given by the judge. This is regardless of whether it is a first time offender or not; or even if the drug charge is a felony or not. This sentencing usually would have to involve some jail time for the defendant regardless of how little.
In some cases, the judge may decide to suspend a defendant’s jail sentence and place them on a probation period after carefully considering the facts and circumstances of the case. In this case, the judge is basically giving the defendant a chance to do better and avoid having to serve a jail sentence. Though the details of probation differ; however, for the most part, probation is either supervised or unsupervised.
An unsupervised probation is one where the judge who presides over the drug case chooses to give the defendant the option of meeting the probation conditions on their own with no form of supervision from the state. This option is usually granted in cases of a misdemeanor where there are convictions. In this scenario, a list of conditions to be met would be provided by the judge for the defendant who would need to prove themselves capable of meeting the necessary conditions. These conditions usually include regular drug tests, attending treatments for substance abuse, attending rehabilitation classes, doing community service, paying the demanded fines, and paying all the court costs. It is mandatory that the defendant meet up with these conditions during the probation period and ensure that they do not get into any situations that would warrant an arrest or a conviction. If the defendant can keep to these terms and at the end of the probation period is able to provide the proof of the having met all the necessary conditions in court, then the judge can satisfactorily terminate their probation, and they would get to forfeit the suspended jail sentence.
In the case of a supervised probation, the defendant would be required to sign up with the Louisiana Probation and Parole for supervision. In this case, the defendant is not considered capable of carrying out their probation on their own and so, they are required to be under the supervision of the state. This decision is also dependent on the judges’ analysis of the facts and the circumstances that surround the drug case. In this scenario, the defendant will have to be assigned a probation officer who will carry out their supervision throughout the probation period. The probation conditions, in this case, may just be the same as that of the unsupervised probation however, most times, it would include monthly payment for supervision.
If at any point during the probation period the probation officer has any reason to believe that the defendant is not keeping to the terms of the probation properly, or that the defendant has been arrested for whatever reason, the probation officer can then file for a request that is called a probation revocation hearing request. In that time, the probation officer can also get a probation warrant to arrest the defendant. When the hearing request is granted, both the probation officer and the defendant would need to appear in court before the judge. During this revocation hearing, the probation officer would be allowed to state their case and give their reason for requesting the hearing. After the testimony of the probation officer, the judge can decide to take out a ruling on the revocation; however, the defendant would also be allowed to defend the case brought against them by the probation officer. In the event that the judge listens to both sides and decided to rule in favor of a revocation, the probation of the defendant would be immediately revoked, and they would be required to serve the originally suspended jail term sentence.
The details of probation in a drug case are technical, and these technicalities need to be understood by the defendant. As a criminal defense attorney Baton Rouge, we would go over the details of your probation, breaking down all of the technicalities to you for your understanding. We would help you to get the best possible outcome on your probation and in the event of a revocation hearing, we would help you to prepare for what to expect.
Criminal Defense Attorney in Louisiana
If you or anyone you know is involved in or has a pending drug charge, contact us immediately and let one of our drug defense attorneys in Louisiana take on your case today. It does not matter if your case has already been assigned to a public defender; we would make the necessary transfers and take it up immediately. With the experience that we have with the Louisiana state courtrooms and the knowledge that we have of the Louisiana state law, we would be an asset that you want to have on your case.
We have a wealth of experience in the Louisiana courtrooms; this means that we are well-experienced not only in the way the prosecutors think but in the way the judges think and pass out their rulings as well. Would you not want that kind of information at your disposal?
Our criminal defense attorneys are wide and versatile. We can take on any drug charge anywhere in Louisiana. Let us use our experience in drug-related cases to get you the best possible outcomes, be it in regards to making deals with the prosecutor or in a trial sentencing and even in a probation hearing. We are experienced in all of these areas, and we are ready to serve you in any or even all of these areas.