I'm on probation for possession of marijuana, less than an ounce. My probation payments are $122/month. Total of $1,464. I've paid $440-ish, but I haven't made any payments since January because I can't find a job. I do however report every month. I talked to my probation officer today (7/30/2010) He told me that I have to catch up on on my payments that I haven't made ($750-ish) by 8/18/2010, or he is going to issue a warrant for my arrest.
I was wondering if I have to pay the whole $750 by then, or if I can just pay what I can get. Is it legal for him to issue a warrant on me considering I have no way to pay?
2 Answers from Attorneys
You didn't mention if you had a court-appointed or private attorney who had represented you in the underlying case for which you're on probation for, but if you did, you may want to try to contact that attorney again with the question. Technically, you are supposed to pay the probation fees as required, but I believe it is unconstitutional to revoke a person's probation simply because the person cannot pay the fees, especially in your case where you do report, but just do not have a job to pay the fees. For me to make such arguments, you will need to hire me and pay me. It is an argument most people do not know how to make in court.
The probation officer can request that a warrant be issued for your arrest, but has to go through the legal channels to do so. You should be given the right to have a hearing where the Judge will hear your case before the probation is revoked. If you would like to see if I can assist you, please feel free to contact me.
PO can have you arrested for non-payment, Judges usually sign warrant without having PO do a lot of explaining (i.e., POs stand in the shoes of the Court) -- it is up to you to convince Judge to let you out of Jail because you cannot pay - but you will stay in jail until you have a hearing
Be proactive and file motion (under your criminal case number) to stay payments and/or reduce arrearages due to financial crisis and no job -- file it today and serve the DA, your PO and the Judge by hand-delivery (serve Judge first and let DA & PO know you served him/her first)
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