A new felony criminal trial term is just beginning in Lee County, which means that a grand jury will soon issue indictments. For most people that are indicted on felony charges the case will resolve through a guilty plea. Following the entry of a guilty plea, most defendants will apply for probation if he/she is eligible under the law. The judge will schedule a date for the probation hearing and order the defendant to perform certain tasks prior to the probation hearing. Generally, these tasks are:
1. Payment of court ordered monies;
2. Community service; and
3. Negative drug test on the day of probation hearing.
The judge requires completion of these tasks because completion shows the judge that the defendant will be a good probationer and that the defendant takes his/her case seriously. While probation is never guaranteed, a high percentage of defendants obtain probation and avoid a prison sentence if all tasks are completed in full.
Practical Tip: Often, the situation occurs when the defendant reveals an inability to pay all of the court ordered monies because of one reason or another: no job, sick parent, other bills, etc. I advise that the payment of court ordered monies to help secure probation and avoid prison should be a necessity on the level of food, clothing and shelter. In the end, we are talking about one’s freedom. Regardless if you have a job, if you need funds to pay court ordered monies certain sacrifices may be necessary: drop the smart phone, get rid of cable, sell unnecessary items (TVs, stereos, etc), sell a car and get a cheaper one, etc. Also, I recommend performing more than the required number of hours for community service. The judge needs to know that you take your freedom seriously.
If you have any questions or comments, or would like to discuss your criminal case, feel free to email me at stanley @ samfordlaw.com or call at (334) 745-3504.