Probation Violation Attorneys in Florida
Violation of Probation Defined
A violation of probation occurs after a person has been sentenced to a probationary sentence and where they willfully and substantially failed to comply with the terms and conditions of the supervised probationary sentence set by the judge.
In accordance with Florida Statute 948.001(8), probation means a form of community supervision requiring specified meetings or contacts with probation officers and other terms and conditions. Typically, a defendant is required to meet with the probation officer within 24 hours of the probationary sentence to explain the probation process and review the set terms and conditions for probation. The dangerous part of a violation is not necessarily the reason for the violation but you could face the full sentence of the original charge in which you were placed on probation.
Why hire Moses and Rooth Attorneys at Law for your violation of probation?
What happens if you violate probation in Florida? Under Florida Law, a criminal defendant who violates the terms of their probation can face very stiff penalties, particularly if the court saw fit to impose a more lenient penalty than they could have. An accusation of a probation violation should be taken very seriously. You may face prison time or end up extending the term of your probation if you are found guilty. Its imperative to speak with an attorney as soon as you are aware of a potential violation. We can prepare a strategy for the best case results. This may include taking the new violation case to trial, having you complete the community service or completion of a treatment program. We want to make sure you are fully prepared before you walk in front of the judge. If you have a family member who was arrested, we will make a jail visit to discuss the details of the allegation and answer all questions. Then we will move forward with a violation of probation bond hearing to present evidence to the court and request a bond. Having an attorney properly prepare and challenge your violation of probation will be crucial to a favorable resolution.
Understanding Probation Violations in Florida
When you are given probation by the court, the court will establish rules of conduct that you must abide by during the term of your probation. This can include maintaining appointments with drug counselors or mental health services, avoiding certain places or people, and more. The most common probation violations include:
- New criminal arrest
- Testing positive for a controlled substance
- Getting arrested for another crime
- Failing to complete a drug treatment program
- Failing to keep up with legally-required financial obligations
- Violate the terms and conditions of a set curfew
- Missing an appointment with your probation officer
A violation for a new law offense is occurs when a person on probation allegedly commits a new crime. Often times if a person is on probation and is arrested for a new crime, they will remain incarcerated even before the probation officer files a violation of probation reports. This is called an “on-view” arrest.
If a probation officer believes that a violation of probation has occurred, they file a “Violation of Probation Affidavit”. The Violation of Probation Affidavit explains to the Judge how they believe that person violated their conditions of probation. The probation officer will also write in the affidavit history of the person while on probation and will make a recommendation for a sentence if the person is found to be in violation.
Once the Judge receives the Violation of Probation Affidavit, and if they believe that it explains that a violation has occurred then a warrant will be issued for your arrest. The Judge has the discretion to have a bond attached to the violation or to have warrant as a “No Bond”. Unlike a new arrest, a person accused of violating their probation is NOT entitled to a bond. While not entitled to a bond, we will still file a motion and request a hearing and argue that it is appropriate in your particular situation.
Types of Probation in Florida
There are five types of probation in Florida. Those are:
- Straight supervised probation: A defendant must obey the terms of their probation and meet regularly with a probation officer.
- Administrative probation: A defendant is on probation with no requirement to meet with a probation officer.
- Community control: The defendant is under supervised custody. This often times requires an ankle monitor and a curfew. Their freedom is severely restricted. They must keep a schedule and failure to meet that schedule can result in revocation of probation.
- Sex offender probation: The defendant must follow a sex offender treatment plan and is under direct supervision.
- Drug offender probation: Defendant must follow drug treatment plan under strict supervision and submit to random drug testing.
- Violation of Probation Bonds
A violation of probation (VOP) occurs if the conditions set by probation or the special conditions set by the court were violated. If you have been accused of violating your probationary terms, you are exposed to the maximum sentence for the original charge. A judge will consider many factors when reviewing a probation officers affidavit before making a determination on the bond. Once a judge or probation officer finds a violation of probation, the judge may either set a bond, set a zero bond (this means you cannot be released from jail) or issue a notice for you to appear in front of the judge on a set date. In order to determine a bond for a violation of probation, the judge will often consider the reason for the violation, the probation officer’s recommendation, the original charges, and the criminal history.
It is very common for a judge to set a zero bond on a violation of probation. At Moses and Rooth Attorneys at Law, our Orlando lawyers can represent you at a bond hearing where we request a bond to be set. Our attorneys have experience in preparing our clients and presenting the proper testimony at these hearings. The violation of probation bond hearings do not entitle you to argue or try the original charges. It is important to hire an experienced criminal defense firm when facing a violation of probation. As knowledgeable defense lawyers, we know that time is of the essence, and we react with urgency and efficiency.
Violation of Probation Bonds and the Florida Anti-Murder Act
If the case qualifies under the Florida Anti-Murder Act, the bond will be set at zero. Its important to have an attorney review the allegations to determine of the case is eligible for a bond and prepare your defense to a violation of probation that falls under Anti-Murder.
Legal Standards for Probation Violations
To be found guilty of a crime, you must either plead guilty or be found guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is the highest standard of proof under the law. Probation violations require a much lower standard of proof. Instead, you can be found guilty of a probation violation by a “preponderance of the evidence.” In other words, if it is more likely than not that you violated your probation (51%), you can be found guilty of a probation violation.
Sentencing for Violation of Probation
The decision to punish a probation violation is entirely at the court’s discretion. The accused can be given the opportunity to explain why they violated their probation and the courts can make a determination on the validity of that excuse. In some cases, the courts may determine that the defendant’s probation should continue unhindered. In other cases, the courts will find the violation egregious enough to warrant more prison time.
Since the choice of how to punish the probation violation is entirely at the judge’s discretion, situations can range widely from a verbal warning to significant prison.
Judges in Florida generally have three options when it comes to a probation violation. They can either reinstate your probation (which means business as usual), modify the terms of your probation, or revoke your probation (which will result in the defendant going back to prison).
Talk to an Orlando Probation Violation Attorney
If you are accused of a probation violation, then you should have a skilled defense attorney plead your case to the judge. Contact Moses & Rooth today to learn more about how we can help.