Many people are unaware that it is a crime to offend "justice" itself. "Justice" can include the courts, governing bodies, and public officials (such as lawmakers and police officers). Typically, crimes against the justice system involve some sort of disorderly or disrespectful conduct that questions the authority or intelligence of the legal system, including perjury, contempt of court, or fleeing from justice. Crimes that fall into this category carry similar consequences and penalties as other crimes, including fines and jail time. Below you will find information on crimes involving the justice system.
Failure to Report a Crime
In many jurisdictions, you can be charged with failing to report a crime if you witness the commission of a felony, and the circumstances are such that a reasonable person would have believed that an offense had been committed that would result in serious bodily harm or death, and you fail to report the offense. Most state statutes requires that you immediately report the offense to a peace officer or law enforcement agency. While in the majority of states failure to report isn't illegal, a small minority of states have enacted laws punishing individuals who fail to report certain types of crimes to the authorities.
How Probation Can be Violated
Probation is what is issued after leaving county jail or at times when no jail time is required. There are many ways in which a person can violate their probation including failing to report a change of address or get approval to move from the probation officer, failing to follow the terms of current probation, committing another crime while still on probation, failing to pass or submit a drug analysis, failing to pay for restitution, failing to report to the probation officer and altering or breaking electronic monitoring devices.
What is a Probation Violation Hearing?
A violation of probation hearing is similar to a non-jury trial. There is no entitlement to a jury for a violation of probation, rather the case is decided by a judge. If you have a hearing the judge will listen to the legal arguments from both sides and make a decision on your case based on them and the preponderance of the evidence. In order to be found guilty the court must find that the violation was willful and substantial by a preponderance of the evidence. It means that the judge just has to decide that it is a little more likely than not that you committed the violation.
Why You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney
Any person who is facing a crime against justice charge, no matter how minor, will benefit from consulting a local criminal defense lawyer. Even if the lawyer is not retained to provide representation in court, a consultation will help a criminal defendant understand the nature of the charges filed, available defenses, what plea bargains are likely to be offered, and what is likely to happen in the event of conviction. A skilled criminal defense lawyer should be able to identify important pretrial issues, and to bring appropriate motions which might significantly improve a defendant's situation, or even result in the dismissal of charges.