Teen Mom OG dad Ryan Edwards had his court date for his recent theft charge earlier today, and he reportedly got some good news and some bad news.
The good news is that the theft charge, resulting from Ryan reportedly bailing without paying his $36 bar tab after ordering six whiskeys at a Chattanooga bar in December, was dismissed! Radar Online got the dismissal confirmation from the Hamilton County General Session Clerk of Court after his hearing early this morning.
Unfortunately, Radar also reports that the dismissal will not mean that Ryan will be getting out of jail any time soon. His hearing stemming from the probation violation was previously continued until April 15, and he will reportedly remain in a Hamilton County jail until then.
Given that Ryan’s probation violation was because of the theft charge, I was a bit surprised that the dismissal didn’t immediately do away with both issues. Theoretically, with no theft charge, there is no probation violation, right?
I did some research and added yet another chapter to my ever-growing knowledge of the law. Just because the criminal charge that triggered a probation violation is dismissed, that does not necessarily mean that the State will not move forward with the probation violation. A similar question was asked on AVVO.com, and criminal defense attorney Scott G, Berry explained in part:
The burden of proof is different at a violation of probation [VOP] hearing than it is for a new charge. A new charge must be proven to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. A violation of probation must be proven to a judge by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that if the state does not have enough evidence to prove a new charge to a jury, it may still have enough evidence to prove the violation of probation to a judge.
Although it is likely that a dismissed charge will equate to the probation violation also being dismissed, it is not automatic — thus the hearing must still take place, and thus Ryan must remain in jail until then because he is being held without bond.
It is very possible that the bar Ryan was drinking at decided not to press charges, perhaps after receiving compensation for the unpaid drinks. That seems like a situation where prosecutors would drop the case, but a judge could decide on his own that it was clear that Ryan left without paying, regardless of whether or not the bar owners were cooperating moving forward. This is purely speculation however.
Another thing to consider is whether or not drinking alcohol was allowed in Ryan’s probation terms. If not, then the judge will have even more leeway to move forward with the violation charge. The AVVOS.com question linked above was in regards to a public intoxication charge that resulted in potential probation violation despite the charge being dropped. Attorney Garry Lee Potts shared some insight in his response that seems to apply directly to Ryan’s case:
The State may have determined that they did not have enough evidence to convince a jury beyond and to the exclusion of a reasonable doubt that your son committed the crimes of Disorderly Intoxication and Resisting Arrest; however, in the VOP hearing, the judge could find that other conditions of probation were violated merely by your son’s presence at a bar or that he was consuming alcohol at all.
We will continue to monitor Ryan’s case and will be sure to update with any major developments. As mentioned above, if nothing happens over the next two months, then we will surely know more after his probation violation hearing on April 15.