Used to its fullest potential, probation can help turn people’s lives around. But, you must follow all the rules and regulations to make it work. It’s not enough to refrain from committing any new criminal offenses while on probation; you also have to abide by all of the “technical” terms of your probation.
Although Florida has relaxed some of the sanctions judges can impose after a technical probation violation, you still face significant penalties, including going to jail. You need a tough, dedicated, and experienced Florida defense attorney to help if you face a probation violation. In the Orlando area, the experienced defense lawyers from Moses and Rooth Attorneys at Law aggressively fight to protect your freedom. You can count on them to give you the best chance of walking away from your technical violation of probation unscathed.
What Are Technical Violations of Probation in Florida?
Florida courts recognize two forms of probation violations. The first is a substantive violation, which is a new criminal law violation. In other words, you’ll violate your probation if you commit another crime. The other type of violation is called a technical violation.
It might be easy to dismiss technical probation violations as less important than substantive ones. That is not the case at all. Florida’s jails and prisons house numerous people who have committed technical probation violations.
A technical violation occurs when the probationer violates one or more of the probation requirements other than obeying the law. Common technical violations include:
- Missing appointments with your probation officer;
- Not paying court costs or restitution;
- Providing a “dirty” urine sample, meaning you tested positive for consuming illegal drugs or alcohol while on probation;
- Not attending AA or NA meetings as ordered;
- Associating with someone who engages in criminal activity;
- Missing curfew;
- Missing a treatment appointment;
- Failing to complete required classes; or
- Not completing community service hours.
These are a sample of technical conditions that you might violate, but there might be others. Your probation conditions are specific to your case. For instance, if you are on probation for a victim-related offense, the judge could also order you to stay away from and have no contact with the victim. If you violate that order, you violate your probation.
What Can Happen If You Violate Probation?
Florida Statutes § 948.06 is the law that governs probation violations. Under this section, a person who allegedly violated probation is subject to arrest, with or without a warrant. The arresting police officer must bring the alleged probation violator before the court that imposed the probation conditions. Once in court, the judge can release the person and set a date for a violation hearing or send the probationer to jail while awaiting the hearing.
Section 948.06 gives judges wide discretion in punishing probation violators. A judge can modify, extend, or revoke the probation. You can go to jail if the court revokes your probation.
Remember that the standard of proof for a probation violation is different from an original criminal charge. Since you have already admitted to the facts of the underlying criminal case, all the judge has to find is that you violated your probation. The probation officer does not have to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt as the prosecutor does.
The sanction the judge could impose after a probation violation will depend on the nature of the technical violation. The judge will want to know if you committed a willful violation. The judge will also consider your previous performance on probation and the type of crime for which you were originally convicted.
Alternative Sanctions for Technical Violations of Probation in Florida
Florida’s probation violation law allows judges to rehabilitate probation violators without sending them back to jail. The law allows judges to impose additional conditions on the probationer as punishment for technical violations.
Sanctions vary according to the violation. The chief judge of the 9th Judicial Circuit issued a written order detailing the sanctions available for technical violations.
Not every probationer is eligible for an alternate sanction. Violent and repeat offenders are ineligible, as are convicted sex offenders.
What Rights Do You Have in Probation Violation Hearings in Florida?
You have several rights because your freedom is at stake. You have the right to receive written notice of your alleged violation. You have the right to present witnesses and contest the probation officer’s evidence. You can also testify.
Perhaps the most important right is the right to have an attorney. Having an attorney who understands how probation violations work and how to deal with them can give you the edge you need.
Who Should You Call for a Technical Violation of Probation in Florida?
If you have a probation violation in Florida, you need a lawyer who knows the system well. The Orlando criminal defense lawyers from Moses & Rooth have the experience you need to protect your freedom. Moses & Rooth are award-winning attorneys who offer 24/7 support for you and your family. Contact them by going online or calling 407-337-0150.