When it comes to the language of the law, most people like to toss around the term “legalese.” The law truly does have its own language. If the law were a language, though, it would be more like German than like French: it’s harsh, even when you’re trying to say something nice. For instance, “breakfast” in French is “dejeuner;” “breakfast” in German is “frühstück.” I don’t know about you, but I prefer to order my breakfast without making it sound like I’m issuing threats.
A really scary piece of legalese is the word “probation.” In Arizona, probation can come as part of any felony conviction. Probation, however, can be an alternative to jail time: you get to stay as part of the general public but with some restrictions. As part of your probation, you may be limited in your ability to consume drugs or alcohol, possess a firearm, or contact certain people, generally those associated with your conviction. You may also have to submit to urine tests, complete counseling, or wear a security monitoring device. You may also be assigned a probation officer, who will check in with you. However, it is important to remember that “probation” is not “prison,” which is a much scarier piece of legalese.
When “probation” starts to become a really scary word is when it’s associated with a second word - “violation.” A probation violation occurs whenever anyone on probation breaks the rules of their probation. While it might seem minor, such as having “just one drink” while prohibited from doing so, the legal ramifications for the violator are much higher. In a general criminal conviction, the court must find that you violated the law beyond reasonable doubt; on probation, the court only needs “preponderance of evidence,” which is much more open and shut.
Depending on the severity of your probation violation, you may be looking at a pretty frightening list of legalese. Your probation could get extended. Your probation could get stricter. Your probation could end, but not in a good way: you could be sentenced to prison time. While it’s generally expected that everyone, everywhere, all the time, will play by the rules -in this case, the law- we all know that that isn’t always the case. However, under probation, the rules are enforced against you a lot stricter than they are against those not currently on probation. If you find yourself on the wrong side of the rulebook while on probation, you’re going to need an experienced attorney who knows those rules and their exceptions like the back of their hand. Lucky for you, here at Palestini Law we’ve got two hands, and we’re willing to take your case any day, any time.
Originally from Toronto, Canada, James Palestini relocated to Arizona where he received his Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Studies with a minor in Criminology from Arizona State University. James then attended law school at Phoenix School of Law where he earned a Juris Doctorate degree. While pursuing his doctorate, James interned at a criminal defense firm in Scottsdale, Arizona. James handled a multitude of criminal cases there, including felony, misdemeanor and criminal traffic matters.