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xavierjd, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Over 20 yrs experience in prosecution and defense work
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Minor federal probation violation: I rented a room for five

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Minor federal probation violation: I rented a room for five weeks as I was divorcing my wife and didn't tell my probation officer about it. It was a transitional time and I didn't what I was doing and didn't want my P.O. in my personal business. Now she is looking through my bank statements and will likely find evidence (rent checks) pointing to the violation. Should I own up to it and ask forgiveness, or keep mum, hope she doesn't notice, and try not to make it easy for her to violate me by admitting it?

On a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 means she is dying to violate me, and 1 means she really wants me to get off my probation as scheduled (in six weeks after a 2 year term for victimless conspiracy to obstruct justice), I'd say she is around a 6.


Thanks for using It will be my pleasure to assist you.

Why are you on probation?

Have you ever had a violation before?

When did your probation start and when is it over?


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
that info was in my question, but okay:

on U.s. federal probation for felony obstruction of justice

no recorded violations -- though my PO said she could have violated me for moving to my current address without informing her ahead of time

probation started Nov 17, 2009. Ends on Nov 19, 2011 (I hope.)

Thanks for the information.

It is in your best interest to be up front with you P.O and explain what happened and why you didn't or weren't able to report your move to your current address before you moved.

Even if she decided to violate you, it most likely will be considered a "minor" violation. It is unlikely (but not impossible) that you would do jail time for such a violation. Hopefully, you will be given a warning and allowed to continue your probation. It's been almost 2 years and you have not had any problems. It is even possible that she recommends that your probation be noted in your file and that it be closed.

In the facts you presented in your post, it is really the case that "honesty is the best policy." If you hide it from her, or she finds out through your bank statements, etc., it is more likely that she would violate you because of your dishonesty.

If you do get violated, you need to be represented by an attorney. The attorney may be able to successfully argue that if you plead guilty to the "technical/minor violation" that your probation should be terminated and the file closed.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
What does this mean "It is even possible that she recommends that your probation be noted in your file and that it be closed."?

I have actually already asked to have my probation terminated early and she refused to support it (as a general policy, she said.) A mistake by the public defender (a misrepresentation that I did not sign off on) actually blew up that plan and now the U.S. Attorney (my P.O's boss) might be gunning for me.

I think the question is: if she is a bit motivated to violate me on any petty infraction, is it best to make that difficult for her (i.e. to force her to have to do an investigation, etc.) or to hand it to her on a silver platter (i.e. by admitting to it) and beg for forgiveness that may not be forthcoming? I am really torn. If I catch her in the right mood, the latter may be best. But there is evidence that she has it out for me... so maybe I should just try to run out the clock. The expiration date on my probation is only 6 weeks away.

Ethically, I cannot tell you to lie to your probation officer.

If you are concerned that she may violate you, you may wish to contact an attorney who specializes in federal criminal law in the court in which you are on probation. Sometimes, an initial consultation is free or at a minimal cost. You can discuss the specific facts of your case, evaluate your options and decide how to proceed.

If she already has information regarding your bank statements and rent checks, she probably already knows. If you are not forthcoming to her, she may make it MORE difficult on you if she has to expend more time and energy to prove something that you could have just told her about and admitted to doing.

Oh, in response to your question, what I meant was that the PO could note the information in your file and decide not to violate you, but instead decide to close the file.

If you are honest about the "petty" violation, she may treat it as "petty" and not violate you--especially since you have had NO other violations since you were on probation. You could explain that it was a transitional time because of the pending divorce and that you were going to tell her, but with everything else on your mind, you simply forgot.

You are REALLY taking a chance by trying to ride out the storm and hope that she doesn't find out before your probation is over. It probably isn't your best choice.

Again, if you are concerned about a possible violation, you should speak to an attorney who practices in your judge's court. The attorney may advise you as to your best option. However, P.O's have access to LOTS of information and can contact anyone. You may want to just be honest. If you are violated, let an attorney advocate your position that your probation should just be terminated and your file closed.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you.

You are welcome.