What You Should know About Violating Your Probation in Florida

What You Should Know About Violating Your Probation in Florida Hanlon Law Sarasota July 16 2024

The incarceration rate in the State of Florida is 795 per 100,000 people. This is one of the highest rates in any democracy on earth. Yet not every crime ends in a prison sentence, and one way the state tackles this is with the use of probation.

Probation allows an offender freedom under a set of strict conditions. When violated, repercussions can be hard. Read on as we discuss everything you need to know about probation in Florida.

What Constitutes a Violation of Probation?

The conditions of every probation will be different. However, several actions can see it violated. Some are less severe than others and may result in less harsh punishments.

  • Failure to complete a drug or alcohol test
  • Taking a drug or alcohol test and getting a positive result
  • Failing to pay restitution
  • Not reporting a change in address
  • Being arrested for a crime
  • Failing to attend probation meetings

Even when you start probation, you must consult with a lawyer. A criminal defense attorney will be able to discuss probation law with you and go over the terms of your case. This ensures you understand the conditions and know what to do to avoid further criminal proceedings.

What Happens When You Violate Probation?

The most likely person to report your violation is your probation officer. Once they start the process, they need to create and send an Affidavit of Violation to the court. In it will be an outline of any evidence to prove you violated probation and a description of the violation itself.

When received by the court, a judge will look over the document. From this, they will decide on further legal action. They will then issue a warrant for your arrest if they decide to pursue it.

When you get arrested, your charge is a violation of probation (VOP). An arraignment takes place and you are sentenced to a hearing. However, the trial works differently from other ones you may have been part of before.

Who Decides If I Am Guilty of Violating Probation?

When accused of any crime in the United States of America, you have the right to a trial. This is to ensure a fair and just process. If accused of violating probation, this is not the case.

Instead, an evidentiary hearing will take place. The judge will decide if you are guilty or not.

During a standard proceeding, it will have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. In an evidentiary hearing, this changes to a preponderance of the evidence. The prosecutor simply has to prove that it is likely you committed the crime based on evidence.

At this trial, the prosecution can call witnesses. In most cases, the probation officer will be the only one brought to stand. Your attorney can call witnesses on your behalf.

You can provide and present physical evidence if there is any. You can even stand as a witness yourself.

After completion, the judge will make a decision based on the evidence. One person making a decision based on evidence is more likely to result in a guilty verdict. This is why you must get exceptional legal representation to defend your case.

What Are the Consequences of Probation Law Violations?

When you violate probation, you are already under punishment for the previous crime. This can have serious consequences. As well as not having your verdict heard in front of a jury, you are also unlikely to get a bond.

None of these decisions is based on the severity of the crime either. That means you could be on probation for a less serious crime, violate it by accident, and have to sit in jail until trial. Yet people accused of serious crimes will be out on bond.

There is no statute of limitations on a VOP either. This means there is no time limit on submitting the Affidavit of Violation.

Finally, any claims made against you do not always need backing up with evidence. If you have said something to your probation officer it can be used as evidence. No proof of the conversation needs presenting or recording.

What Are the Penalties for Violation of Probation in Florida?

When you violate probation a judge may decide on one of three courses of action. The first is that they may reinstate your probation. It is important you know the terms, as violating it again is almost certain to result in much greater punishments.

Secondly, they may modify your probation. This is an amendment to the original terms. It could make it stricter, limiting what you can and can not do.

The most severe punishment for a violation is that you can have probation revoked. When this happens, the judge is allowed to sentence you to penalties that may have been administered when you were found guilty of committing the initial crime.

For many people, this means a stint in jail or prison. This is not a given, as the judge may decide to impose other sanctions and penalties instead. However, a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida carries a possible penalty of one year in jail, so some sort of stretch is likely.

How Long Do You Go to Jail When Violating Probation in Florida?

Assuming you are sentenced to a prison sentence for a VOP, there are no fixed terms you will go to jail for. It all depends upon the individual circumstances of your violation and the severity of the original crime.

Any good or positive work you have done while on probation may count in your favor. The longer you have been on probation without a VOP may also work for you. Finally, if it is a second violation you are likely to suffer heavy penalties, possibly even the maximum jail sentence for the original crime.

Finding Representation

Prevention is always better than a cure and probation in Florida is no different. When you start, get a lawyer to explain the terms and conditions fully. If you do get a VOP, then make sure you have someone to represent you.

Hanlon Law should be your first stop. We are a criminal defense attorney based in Sarasota, who believes your future is all that matters. Click here to contact us and get in touch with one of our offices across Florida.

Hanlon Law
1605 Main St Ste 1115
Sarasota, FL 34236
(941) 462-1789

Attorney Will Hanlon
Attorney Will Hanlonhttps://www.criminalattorneytampa.net/
As a native Floridian and criminal defense attorney, my family history in Tampa spans generations. Since being admitted to The Florida Bar almost 20 years ago, I founded Hanlon Law and have gained extensive legal experience in criminal courtrooms in and around Tampa and throughout Florida.

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