How to Clear a Probation Violation Warrant in Arizona
Probation is a necessary part of the criminal justice system. It gives judges and prosecutors more punishment options than simply court fines and incarceration and allows offenders to avoid significant disruptions to their lives.
Sometimes, however, individuals on probation end up violating their probation terms and need help getting back on track. Fortunately, Arizona's criminal justice system offers a way back into compliance.
Generally speaking, you have three options for handling a probation violation: proving that you did not violate probation, appearing in court to get the warrant dismissed, or seeking a legal discharge.
If you are currently facing a probation violation and wondering how to quash a warrant in Arizona, our team of experienced criminal defense attorneys can help you sort out your situation.
What Can You Get a Warrant for?
The reasons that you might get a probation violation arrest warrant are many. But keep in mind that the criminal courts may go easier on individuals who violate less serious terms of their probation agreements.
In other words, the more serious your probation violation, the more dire consequences you are likely to face. However, a skilled attorney can do much to help you mitigate the damage and get you back in compliance.
Missing Your Community Service
Community service, or community restitution, is common in probation terms. Its purpose is to provide the community at large with some benefit from the work of an offender. Complying with community restitution demonstrates that an offender has accepted responsibility for their crime.
However, non-compliance, which typically occurs when an individual does not present for duty, is treated as a serious black mark that might affect an individual's future probation hearings.
Missing a Meeting with Your Probation Officer
Probation officers play an integral role in the criminal justice system of Arizona. They manage the numerous individuals who have been given probation in lieu of jail or prison time through regularly scheduled meetings with offenders.
If you are on probation and fail to show up for a probation meeting with your probation officer, you will likely be subject to an arrest warrant for a probation violation. However, situations exist that may allow you to avoid a warrant if you fail to appear, most notably medical emergencies or other events beyond your control that prevent you from attending your meeting.
Committing a Criminal Offense on Probation
Individuals on probation must take care to uphold the terms of their probation. Refraining from the commission of criminal acts is one of the most important aspects of any individual's probation agreement and must be adhered to. Failure to do so will result in the issuance of a probation violation warrant.
Unapproved Association with a Felon
In most cases, probation terms require you to stay away from known convicted felons. It often does not matter if they are close friends or even family. If you violate this term, you will be subject to a probation violation warrant and face time behind bars.
Crossing State Lines
Travel limitations are common with probation— most notable are prohibitions on crossing state lines. Although pressing family issues and other matters might tempt you to leave the state, you should never do so without explicit permission from your probation officer.
In many cases, these types of requests are easily obtained, especially for holidays and other familial events. However, without said permission, you may have a warrant issued for your arrest.
Failing a Random Drug Test
Drug tests are often part of the probation terms for drug offenders. Failing one of these drug tests can lead to a warrant and probation violation. Additionally, failing any other drug test, such as a roadside drug test, can also lead to the same undesirable end.
Using an Ignition Interlock Device
If you have been granted probation for driving under the influence, you must have your car fitted with an ignition interlock device. This device tests your blood alcohol level and prevents you from driving if your level is above the legal limit.
Unfortunately, many individuals have learned how to disable or trick their devices into letting them drive. This is an outright violation of their probation and grounds for the issuance of an arrest warrant.
Violating a No-Contact Order
A no-contact order is typically used in probation cases involving domestic violence. The terms are clear and require the person on probation to refrain from any contact whatsoever with one or more individuals. Violation of a no-contact order creates a dangerous situation and will lead to a probation violation warrant.
How to Check If You Have a Probation Violation Warrant in Arizona
If any of the above scenarios apply to you, there might be a warrant against your name. You can find out about a warrant in the following ways:
- Search online through Arizona Judicial Branch records.
- Contact the Arizona Department of Public Safety to discover which jurisdiction any warrant is from.
- Call the Criminal Court Administration information desk to find felony warrants and perhaps locate any probation violation warrants.
- Contact law enforcement authorities to speak directly to LEA regarding a warrant.
- Work with a criminal attorney who will perform an exhaustive search for warrants and advise you on your options.
Clearing a Probation Violation Warrant
If you have a probation warrant, you may be wondering, "Can a warrant be dropped?" In every case, the best thing you can do is to get it cleared as soon as possible. Because no matter how long you wait, it will be there waiting for you.
However, by taking the steps to clear the warrant, you get ahead of many of the negative consequences of a probation violation and demonstrate your willingness to make things right.
Getting the Probation Reinstated
If your probation has been violated and you have not been arrested, you will have to eventually attend a probation violation hearing. During this probation hearing, your criminal attorney can fight to show that you are indeed in compliance with your terms of probation and get your probation reinstated.
Your attorney will accomplish this by presenting evidence of compliance and/or refuting or challenging the evidence presented by your probation officer or the prosecution.
Having the Warrant Dismissed
Another option for clearing your probation violation is fighting to have the warrant dismissed. If the underlying charge is a misdemeanor, you may not have to appear in court yourself. Instead, an attorney can appear for you.
However, if the underlying charge is a felony, then having your attorney appear for you is not an option. Additionally, the seriousness of the underlying charge may also make it more difficult to win a motion to quash the warrant in Arizona.
Getting a Legal Discharge
A legal discharge is an order from a judge that can essentially terminate probation and may also lead to a dismissal of the original criminal complaint you are facing.
If you have a warrant for a probation violation and you attend the probation hearing, your attorney can present evidence that you are in fact innocent of the underlying criminal charge against you and win a dismissal of probation and the criminal charge itself.
Turning Yourself into the Police or the Judge
To deal with a probation violation, you also have the option of turning yourself into the authorities. If you choose this option, you will likely face one of three outcomes:
- Your warrant will be revoked and you will continue on with probation.
- You will be incarcerated with bail and be released onto probation once bail is paid.
- Your probation will be revoked and you will serve time behind bars.
Before making any decisions, it is important that you fully understand the repercussions of your actions. Meeting with an experienced criminal attorney is not only advisable but recommended before taking action.
How to Take Care of an Out-of-State Warrant
An out-of-state probation warrant can lead to the extradition of an individual from one state to another, regardless of whether the person is a resident of that state.
However, just because you have an out-of-state warrant does not mean a local police officer will initiate an arrest. There may be terms attached to the probation warrant that indicate that the state that issued the warrant will not extradite.
It is not wise to bet on the existence of a no-extradition clause, especially in the case of felony probation violation warrants. Once you know that you have a warrant in a different state, it is always best to clear up the issue.
A criminal attorney can help get the full details of the probation warrant and help you understand how to get a warrant dropped or how to clear a warrant without going to jail.
Arizona’s “Clear My Warrant” Program
In August 2022, the Pima County Superior Court Adult Probation Department instituted a new warrant resolution program that seeks to bring probation violators back into compliance with their probation terms.
Known as Clear My Warrant, the program is directed primarily at probation absconders. Because there is no jail or court time involved in the program, it is hoped that Clear My Warrant will incentivize violators to return to compliance, which only requires them to contact the adult probation department to have their warrants revoked and probation reinstated.
Keep in mind that not all probation violations may qualify for this program. To learn whether your case is eligible, it is advised that you contact a criminal attorney for help.
Need Help Quashing a Probation Violation Warrant in Arizona?
A probation violation warrant is a serious thing. It can lead a judge to revoke probation and land you behind bars. Fortunately, much can be done to lessen the impact of a violation with the aid of a criminal defense attorney experienced in handling probation violation cases.
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