How to Plea for Reinstatement of Probation

By Richard Sandusky

Picking up a new charge, failing a drug test and not paying court-ordered fines all can get your probation revoked and get you sent back to jail. The judge can consider putting your original sentence in effect, which means you will serve the rest of the time incarcerated; however, in many cases, the judge also has the right to let you have another chance and reinstate your probation. There are things you can do to increase chances of probation reinstatement.

Hire an attorney. While there are some instances where representing yourself may not seem so bad, this should not be one of them. You are going into court because you have failed to maintain the terms of your probation and you may be facing jail or prison. Hire an attorney to represent you in the best possible light.

Maintain employment. Demonstrating to the court that you are a hard working, productive individual may help the judge decide not to send you away. If you will lose a job by being incarcerated, your attorney will have an easier time pleading your case. Conversely, if the judge knows you are not working and will not lose anything by going to jail, your attorney will have a harder time convincing the judge to reinstate probation.

Enroll in school. Showing the judge you are taking steps to further your education allows her to see that you are busy doing positive things in your life. Even if it is only one class at a time, it shows the judge you are expanding your mind and your career opportunities. Choose a school that provides refunds, in case you are ultimately sent to jail.

Dress appropriately. Showing up in court wearing a T-shirt with slogans across the chest, or jeans that are questionable can give the judge a predetermined idea of who he is dealing with. Dress in business casual clothing, hair groomed and conservative jewelry. You want the the judge to view you as a productive, responsible adult.

Trust your attorney. Your attorney works within the system, has handled similar cases and has a relationship with district attorneys and probation officers. In some instances your attorney can work with everyone involved to agree to probation reinstatement and then present that agreement to the judge. Once you have chosen an attorney, take his advice.

Get the charge dropped. If your probation is revoked because you pick up a new charge and you can get that new charge dropped, the judge can reinstate your probation. If your attorney can convince the district attorney that once the evidence is presented in court, your innocence will be proven, the DA may agree to drop the charge. If your attorney can convince the district attorney to drop the charge in the interest of time, good will or for other reasons, you can get the charge dropped. If the DA believes the charge will not be legally supported -- for example, if a search was conducted illegally -- the charge can be dropped.

All of these things can also convince a judge to dismiss the charge. Dismissing differs from dropping in that you still go to court accused of a crime, but for one of the above reasons, the judge dismisses the case against you.