Probation. It can be an alternative to incarceration, and many prefer it to spend time behind bars. Truthfully, the courts’ system may prefer this as well, given the number of people that are currently in jail in the state of Florida. There are about 176,000 people behind bars throughout the state. But, some of those people may have been people that started out on probation. If you find yourself on probation or about to get it, you could be curious as to how many times can you violate probation?
Well, here is your guide for what the consequences could for probation violations in Florida.
According to the 2021 Florida Statutes, a probation violation occurs when there is reasonable suspicion that someone on probation has violated it or community control in a material respect. Once this happens, the authorities would be allowed to issue a warrant for your arrest, provided there is enough reasonable ground to do so.
Types of Probation Violations
There are two main types of probation violations in Florida. These are technical violations and substantive violations.
These are when someone on probation fails a very clearly defined part of the agreement they made with probation.
An example of this could be someone failing a drug test. In some cases, people on probation have to submit to drug tests regularly. If they fail a test during the probation period, then they can be accused of violating the probation and potentially suffering the consequences.
Other examples of this include not doing a court-ordered program, failing to notify a probation officer that you were either changing your address or temporarily going out of the state, and failing to check in with your probation officer.
Substantive violations are a little different from technical ones. This is because they are not something that is as clearly defined in the probation agreement.
Here, you would be under violation if you committed an additional crime than the one you were already charged for while you were on probation.
If this happens, then the authorities can arrest you, and you will face charges both for the new crime and for violating your probation.
For qualifying offenses, this means that you committed a crime on or after your probation started that not only puts you in violation of your probation but it means that you are facing real jail time.
These types of charges tend to be very serious in nature, so they are usually reserved for violent or very disturbing crimes. Examples can be kidnapping, attempted murder, sexual battery, robbery, having child pornography, and more.
Because these crimes are so serious, you lose any chance at remorse and lose the right to stay out of jail.
When it comes to probation violations, the court of law will measure your risk level to determine your punishment. With low-risk violations, it is very unlikely that you will face any real jail time as long as you are not deemed a flight risk.
These types of violations tend to be the basics of a probation agreement, such as failing a drug test, failing to report to the probation office, curfew violation, not reporting a change of address, and more.
So, what are the penalties for this type of violation? It depends on how many times you have violated probation on this level before.
If this is only your first or second time violating probation, the penalties are less severe. You could spend a maximum of five days in county jail, lose travel privileges, 50 more community hours, house arrest for 30 days, etc.
Moderate Risk Violation
These are probation violators that were either already in community control, not staying in residence told by the officer, or committing a third probation violation as a low-risk person.
The penalties do increase in this situation, such as the maximum county jail time going up to 21 days. Other increases include the house arrest time potentially going up to 90 days, electronic monitoring up to 90 days, and residential treatment for the same.
Potential Legal Results
For probation violations, there are three main outcomes that can happen when someone violates their probation.
The first is that if the violation is minor enough, your probation could simply just be reinstated. It would almost be like it never happened if the court decided to cut you a break.
A second possibility for violating your probation is for your probation to be adjusted. An example of this could be adding one of the penalties mentioned above, such as being under house arrest for 90 days instead of having no house arrest at all.
Other examples can be courts making you do more frequent drug tests, the probation period can be extended, there could be more community service hours, and you may have tighter restrictions about where you can travel.
The third possibility would be the worst of all for a violator in that they would lose the probation and go straight to jail. This tends to happen more often with severe crimes that are qualifying offenses mentioned above or for someone who has violated probation enough times in their past.
Before you get these legal results, the best advice for this situation would be to speak to legal counsel before going to trial and accepting these results. That at least leaves open the possibility of either getting a lighter punishment or staying out of jail for the more severe violations.
How Many Times Can You Violate Probation?
The answer to how many times can you violate probation in Florida truthfully depends on the severity of your violation. If you committed a qualifying offense during your probation, then one time is all it takes for you to go to jail.
However, if you are deemed a low-risk violation, you can violate terms up to three times before you start facing real jail time. As for moderate risk violators, you only get one pass before you start facing that possibility.
Seek legal representation for your situation today.
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