Nashville Probation Violation Attorney

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Many defendants may be eligible for probation, a type of sentence in which a defendant is released from detention and is able to remain at home for the period of the sentence pending good behavior. Probation is a better sentence for defendants than confinement in a jail or workhouse, because the defendant can go to his or her home and still enjoy freedom. Tennessee law also provides for the possibility of what is known as “split confinement” – serving a portion of your sentence in confinement and then a portion of time on probation. See Tenn. Code Ann. §40-35-306.

Many defendants convicted of misdemeanors may be eligible for probation – either after serving some time in a penal institution or even none at all. See Tenn. Code Ann. §40-35-302. The law explains that a judge “has authority to place the defendant on probation either: (1) after service of a portion of the sentence in periodic confinement or continuous confinement; or (2) Immediately after sentencing. Tenn. Code Ann. §40-35-302(e).

It is not simply those defendants convicted of misdemeanors who may be eligible for probation. In fact, some defendants convicted of felonies can be eligible for probation. Under Tennessee law, many defendants sentenced to 10 years or less of imprisonment may qualify for probation. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-35-303(a).

A defendant facing serious criminal charges should consult with a probation lawyer, an attorney well versed in the Tennessee Criminal Code who can tell a defendant whether or not there is a chance that the defendant can receive probation. 

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Under Tennessee law, those defendants convicted of vehicular homicide, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, aggravated sexual battery, statutory rape by an authority figure, the manufacture of Schedule I controlled substances, sexual exploitation of a minor, aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor, or especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor, are not eligible for probation even though they possibly could receive a sentence of 10 years or less. The Tennessee Legislature has determined that these offenses are too serious to allow a person to be sentenced to probation.

Tennessee law further provides times when a defendant is eligible for probation. The law provides:

An offender who meets all of the following minimum criteria shall be considered eligible for punishment in the community under this chapter:

(A) Persons who, without this option, would be incarcerated in a correctional institution;

(B) Persons who are convicted of property-related or drug- or alcohol-related felony offenses or other felony offenses not involving crimes against the person as provided in title 39, chapter 13, parts 1-5;

(C) Persons who are convicted of nonviolent felony offenses;

(D) Persons who are convicted of felony offenses in which the use or possession of a weapon was not involved;

(E) Persons who do not demonstrate a present or past pattern of behavior indicating violence; and

(F) Persons who do not demonstrate a pattern of committing violent offenses. 

See Tenn. Code Ann. §36-1-106(a).

Again, Tennessee law is not simple when it comes to whether a defendant is eligible for probation. Thus, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows when a defendant is or is not eligible for probation.

When a defendant is placed on probation, the court attaches several conditions to the terms of the time of probation. One common type of probation condition is restitution, a form of payment to the defendant’s victim. Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-35-304. The defendant has to comply with these terms of probation or faces the risk of having her or his probation revoked. Under Tennessee law, a sentencing judge can modify a term of probation, remove a term of probation, or even “release the defendant from further supervision.” Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-35- 308.

Defendants who fail to comply with the terms of probation or commit another criminal offense are at risk of having their probation revoked. In other words, probation violations are a serious matter. Whenever a defendant is arrested for a probation violation, the defendant has an opportunity to contest the charges. Tennessee law provides that “the defendant must be present and is entitled to be represented by counsel and has the right to introduce testimony in the defendant’s behalf.” Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-35-311(b).

Sometimes the attempted revocation of a defendant’s probation occurs because the defendant has tested positive for an illegal substance. Tennessee law reads that “a laboratory report regarding a defendant’s drug test may be admissible in probation revocation proceedings, even though the laboratory technician who performed the test is not present to testify” as long as the accompany information contains a laundry list of required information. Here is another example where having a good probation attorney is vital. A good probation attorney may be able to successfully defend you on charges of probation violation. The difference may be whether you keep or freedom or go to prison. 

If a reviewing court determines that a defendant has violated her terms of probation by a preponderance of the evidence, then the judge can revoke the probation, causing the defendant to have serve the reminder of her term in custody. Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-35-311(e). However, the law also provides that “if the trial judge does revoke the defendant’s probation and suspension, the defendant has the right to appeal.” Tenn. Code Ann. §40-35-311(e)(2).

Suffice it to say, a defendant facing criminal charges needs a probation attorney or an attorney well-versed in the knowledge of probation law in Tennessee. Such an lawyer can help a defendant perhaps plead guilty to an offense for which the defendant will be eligible for probation. Furthermore, a defendant charged with probation violation, needs an attorney who can vigorously contest those charges.

Nashville-based attorney Philip Clark fits the bill perfectly as your probation lawyer. He not only is a gifted criminal defense attorney but also he has many years of law enforcement experience. He knows and understands the Tennessee Criminal Code and help many persons get sentenced to probation, instead of jail confinement. If you are charged with a probation violation, contact Philip Clark at PNC Law Criminal Defense Attorney.

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(615) 785-2000

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