It is no secret that the prison system in America is overcrowded, and there are many cases where an experienced Alabama criminal attorney can successfully work with Alabamans that have been charged with crimes to avoid conviction. However, in other cases it may be more beneficial for the accused to plead guilty or no-contest to the crime or crimes they have been charged with depending on the circumstances of the case. There are also situations where an overwhelming amount of evidence against a defendant can lead to their conviction. In situations where a Birmingham criminal lawyer works with a client to prepare a guilty or no-contest plea, or in instances where a defendant has been convicted, it is possible for an Alabama criminal defense attorney to negotiate probation for the defendant in lieu of a jail or prison sentence. For many clients, probation can be much more beneficial than traditional sentencing.
General Conditions of Probation
The Code of Alabama Title 15 §22-50 permits circuit and district courts to sentence defendants falling into the categories described above to probation in both misdemeanor and felony cases where the punishment for such crimes does not include death or potential imprisonment for more than 15 years. While the specific conditions of Alabama probation are matters left to the court’s discretion, probation for a misdemeanor cannot exceed two years and the maximum term for felony probation is five years. The original probationary sentence can be extended or reduced so long as it remains within these guidelines. When a terms of probation have been successfully fulfilled, probation will automatically terminate unless a court takes other action.
If a judge has determined probation to be an appropriate sentence, the court will refer the case to a probation officer who will conduct an investigation related to the case. The probation officer will make a recommendation to the court based on this investigation and, upon granting probation, the probation officer will provide the defendant with instructions related to the terms of the probation as well as potential consequences for violating those terms. If a person has violated the terms of their probation, the probation officer may request that law enforcement officials arrest the defendant. Police officers and others with power of arrest may arrest the defendant without the need for a warrant and it is possible that additional penalties may be applied including but not limited to jail time or revocation of probation. In the case of revocation of probation, the state requires that a revocation hearing be conducted where a judge will detail the types of violations alleged and a probationer has the opportunity to defend against the probation violation charges that have led to the revocation hearing.
It is important to note that probation is never mandatory and Alabama law allows judges to consider sentencing Alabama criminal defendants to probation if they believe probation will serve in the best interests of justice. However, probation is never a required sentence and it is not a guaranteed punishment for any particular Alabama criminal conviction.
Help with Criminal Charges
If you are facing Alabama criminal charges, it is important to enlist the services of a skilled Alabama criminal defense attorney. Often, choosing a skilled Alabama criminal lawyer can make a huge difference in whether or not a defendant is convicted of the crimes they are charged with. In cases where guilty or no-contest pleas are entered or a defendant is convicted of the crime or crimes they have been charged with, a dedicated Alabama criminal defense attorney can often successfully work with the court to negotiate a probationary sentence in lieu of jail or prison sentencing.