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What You Need to Know About Probation Violations in Florida

When someone is convicted of a crime, there are several different ways that they can be punished. Often we see incarceration offered as a type of punishment, but probation is also an option depending on the type of crime and the judge's choice in sentencing.

It's important to note that probation is a criminal sentence that is an alternative to incarceration and can be used in county or circuit court for misdemeanors or felonies. It is still very serious because if the defendant violates his or her probation, it can mean serious jail time or even prison.

Conditions of Probation

The court will determine the conditions of probation. In the state of Florida, every probationer must adhere to "standard conditions of probation." An alleged violation of any of the conditions of one's probation can result in an arrest warrant for that person.

Examples of conditions of probation include:

  • Mandatory Reporting to a Probation Officer (PO).
  • Allowing PO to visit probationer at home or work unannounced.
  • Remain with a designated geographic area.
  • No violation of any laws.
  • Submit to drug testing.
  • Make payments of debts or fines as ordered by the court.
  • Do not carry a firearm.

Types of Probation in Florida

Probation can come in different forms depending on the sentencing of the judge. Forms of probation can range from Administrative, or non-reporting, all the way to Community Control (CC), or house arrest.

House arrest is the most strict type of community supervision and has significantly more restrictive terms and conditions compared to other types of probation. There is an incredibly high failure rate associated with this type of probation due to the strict conditions.

Violation of Probation in Florida

If any terms of probation are violated, the probationer can be arrested and incarcerated. Probation warrants almost always have a no-bond hold; meaning the alleged criminal will likely spend some time in custody. Anything said to a PO once an arrest warrant is issued for a probation violation can and will be used against the probationer during a probation violation hearing.

Probation Violation Hearing

Probation Violation Hearings are very different from many criminal trials in the sense that the probationer is not entitled to bond, a jury, or to have the state prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Instead, the rules of evidence are significantly laxer. It is up to a judge, usually, the same judge that set the terms of probation, to determine if the probationer willfully violated his or her probation, and what the punishment for that violation should be.

In any event that you are convicted of a crime and sentenced to probation, you should seek the guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney, especially in a situation where probation is allegedly violated. Your attorney can speak on your behalf to your Probation Officer, as anything you say can and will be used against you in a probation violation hearing.

References:

Finebloom5, D. M. (2010, January 05). How to Defend a Violation of Probation Charge in Florida. Retrieved March 27, 2018, from https://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/how-to-defend-a-violation-of-probation-charge-in-florida

(2018, March 27). Retrieved March 27, 2018, from http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0900-0999/0948/Sections/0948.03.html

Haber5, M. A. (2013, November 10). Probation in Florida: What it is and how to survive it.? Retrieved March 27, 2018, from https://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/probation-in-florida--what-it-is-and-how-to-survive-it

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