My client was on probation in the District Court of Maryland. His probation was from January 2013 through January 2014. While he was on probation in the District Court it was alleged by the department of parole and probation that he failed to report as required, that he committed new crimes, that he failed to pay restitution, that he failed to pay probation fees. In short, he did about as badly as one can imagine on probation. The case was heard in the District Court (With a different attorney) and the judge found him in violation of probation and sentenced him to 18 months in jail.
In Maryland the defendant has the right to appeal such a finding to the Circuit Court and have a new hearing on violation of probation. It was at this point that he hired me. I reviewed the facts in the file and it became clear to me that the petition for violation of probation was filed some 20 days after the defendant's probation had expired. In Maryland, in the District Court, at the current time, a petition for violation of probation must be filed during the time that probation is active or within 30 days of the violation, whichever is later. In this case the petition was filed substantially after probation had closed. In my opinion the petition was not timely filed and should be dismissed.
When the appealed case was presented in the Circuit Court I made this five-minute argument. The circuit court judge was very familiar with the statute and the petition was dismissed. Rather than spending 18 months in jail my client was able to go about his business.
When facing a violation of probation it is very easy to lose and lose badly. It is important to have an attorney who is familiar with the various aspects of this specialized area of the law.