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How to Get Your Probation Revoked in 6 Easy Steps (or What NOT to Do at Your Revocation Hearing)

I recently handled a probation revocation matter in Lafayette Parish District Court. My client’s probation was in danger of being revoked because he had failed to do some of his community service and failed to pay some of his fines. In most situations, these types of probation violations would not have resulted in a revocation.  However, despite my coaching and instructions, my client did not behave properly at the probation revocation hearing and his probation was revoked.

This is what my client did in court:

1.       He mumbled his answers to the judge’s questions

2.       He interrupted the judge on several occasions

3.       His attitude was lackadaisical

4.       His clothes were too casual for court

5.       He was slouching with his hands in his pockets

6.       He did not make eye contact

He acted like he was hanging out on the corner talking to a friend rather than speaking to a judge who was about to put him in jail. Inappropriate demeanor in the courtroom may not cause your probation to be revoked, but it certainly won’t help.  If you have not fulfilled all of the conditions of your probation, then you are coming to court with a disadvantage.  You need to show up with a good attitude, because a negative attitude can get you a free ride to jail.

So what could my client have done differently to avoid revocation?

 

How to Behave in Court

When you are in court, the judge expects you to act appropriately. This does not mean that you have to bow and beg in front of the judge, but you do need to show the proper respect to the court system. You should always answer loudly and clearly and stand up straight.  While it is not required, I strongly recommend that you answer yes sir or yes judge. You will not have your probation revoked for failing to say yes sir or no sir, but if there is any doubt whether or not you will be revoked, acting respectful may cause the judge to lean towards non revocation.

When your probation attorney tells you how to behave in court, please listen to him or her – an experienced revocation lawyer knows that dressing properly, speaking clearly, being attentive and acting respectful can potentially make a big difference for your future.

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