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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 26800
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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A friend of mine is on formal probation for a stalking offense.

Customer Question

A friend of mine is on formal probation for a stalking offense. He served 6 months and is now ordered to see his probation officer and go to therapy twice a week. He is unable to work right now and has limited funds. His therapy sessions which he has to pay for are costing him a fortune. Can he find another court appointed counselor that will work on a sliding scale fee?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 6 years ago.

I'm assuming that when your friend took his plea that placed him on probation, there was a lawyer who represented him. This is a matter that his lawyer can and should assist with, as the course of therapy would likely have to be approved by the court and he would want to make the change in such a way that it would not offend the department of probation.

But as a general rule, when a court-mandated requirement is completely unaffordable, the court will be flexible if it's handled through the proper channels. (Meaning with permission and approval).
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you - I will have him speak to his lawyer right away. I appreciate your help. He pleaded guilty to the offense because his public defender coerced him saying he was facing 4 yrs in prison and he did not know what to do. He has no prior offenses although he has two prior TRO's from long ago. His lawyer told him he would have a very light probation once he was released and now he is facing a formal probation because of his priors. I assisted him in retaining an attorney since my close friend deals with this type of offense. Thank you again. If you have any further suggestions it would be helpful. Thanks again.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 6 years ago.

It's not unusual for probation to increase a probationer's requirements once they have worked up their file and have more information on his background. It's not something the lawyer (public or private) can control in advance. The remedy would be to go back before the judge and contest the new requirements, though in most instances, the court will defer to what probation asks for, because probation knows him better.

Still, when it's a clear case of a defendant who is trying to do the right thing but is simply without the means to comply, I've seen alternatives get worked out. It's only when a judge feels that a defendant took a plea to probation intending from jump street to duck the requirements that they get their back up.

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