Florida Violation of Probation Laws
Are you accused of a violation of probation? Florida considers probation as a form of “community supervision” and as such, it’s a privilege – one that can be revoked if you violate the terms of your probation. In fact, according to one Florida Supreme Court decision (Loeb v. State), probation was called a form of “grace” that’s offered in lieu of serving jail time “with its principal function being the rehabilitation of a defendant and the protection of society.”
The terms of probation can be challenging for some people to fulfill, particularly those who are sentenced to a lengthy probation term. Probation can include frequent visits with your probation officer, random drug testing, home visits, a requirement to maintain a job and a prohibition on any involvement in new criminal cases. A violation of any of these terms can result in a VOP hearing, also known as a violation of probation hearing where a judge may opt to revoke your probation, resulting in a one-way ticket to jail.
But there is help. Your VOP lawyer has been in practice for decades. This former prosecutor-turned-defense lawyer is extremely knowledgeable in both the prosecution and defense of criminal cases, including violation of probation hearings. He spent years working for the Florida State Attorney’s Office as a narcotics prosecutor and prosecuted thousands of DUI and other alleged crimes before ultimately transitioning to private practice as a criminal defense lawyer.
Before he began attaining legal victories (and there have been many over the course of his career, which includes thousands of cases and trials), your lawyer was victorious on the racetracks where he managed professional race car drivers, winning championships and competing at the highest levels of the rough and tumble world of motor racing. Today, he strives to be the MVP of your legal team, helping you win in the legal arena.
Since you may be taken into custody for a new criminal case and violation of probation at any time of day or night, Your Lawyer provides his clients with his personal cell phone number. He is available to clients 24 hours a day. It’s a wonderful example of his commitment and dedication.
If you or a loved one are facing a VOP hearing, your Tampa criminal defense lawyer can help. Schedule a free, confidential case consultation today. Call 813-933-6807.
Common Questions Surrounding Violation of Probation (VOP) in Florida FAQ
The prospect of having your probation revoked is terrifying as it can mean a potentially lengthy jail or prison sentence. It’s understandable that you may have lots of questions and concerns, so let’s examine a few of the most common inquiries on this subject.
How Do You Violate Probation in Florida?
[Image: Tampa Violation of Probation Lawyer] There are many ways in which you can violate probation in Florida (and beyond). When you are placed on probation, the court will issue a number of mandates that you are required to fulfill. Each case is somewhat unique, and the requirements for maintaining probation do tend to vary slightly depending upon the nature of the offense.
Some of the most common requirements for remaining free on probation are as follows:
- Finding and maintaining a “lawful” occupation (or showing proof that you are searching for employment);
- Submitting to home visits from the probation officer;\
- Maintaining up-to-date information on your residential address and phone number;
- Remaining drug-free and submitting to random drug screens;
- Completing community service in compliance with the court order;
- Paying financial obligations such as drug test fees, probation fees and court-ordered restitution and fines;
- Performing periodic check-ins with your probation officer by phone and/or in person; and
- Avoiding criminal activity and avoid any charges in connection with a new offense.
These are the most common terms and conditions that must be fulfilled during probation. Some defendants may also be ordered to enroll in treatment and therapy programs (such as drug treatment or anger management) for offenses such as drug-related crimes or violent crimes.
If you allegedly violate one or more of the terms of your probation, your probation officer will have the opportunity to formally document the violation in a document called an Affidavit of Violation, which results in a VOP hearing. The probation officer typically has some discretion in when to issue a violation. In felony cases, a Department of Corrections Violation Report is also typically filed.
Once this is issued and submitted to the courts, the courts can issue an arrest warrant. The individual may need to remain in custody until the time of the VOP hearing.
What Happens at a VOP Hearing?
At a VOP hearing, your attorney will have an opportunity to present an argument to the courts, arguing that you should be permitted to continue serving probation. The prosecution will also be on-hand at the violation of probation hearing. The prosecutor is tasked with presenting evidence that the probation violation was both “willful and substantial.” The “willful and substantial” element is key and it has been explored in many court proceedings that are cited as Florida case law.
The standard of proof for this type of hearing is not “beyond a reasonable doubt,” rather, it entails a preponderance of the evidence. This is a lesser degree of burden for the prosecution. It essentially means that when all evidence is weighed and evaluated, the scales must be tipped ever so slightly in one direction or the other. The court has the option to impose the sentence that it would have handed down instead of probation.
How do parole and probation differ in Hillsborough County?
Parole is conditional release from prison in which a violation puts you back in prison. Probation is a period of time which generally doesn’t involve jail or prison and requires you for this period of time to follow the law, not consume alcoholic beverages, usually do community service hours, pay any restitution if applicable, report once a month to your probation officer.
In Hillsborough County, what is considered a violation of probation?
There are countless ways to violate probation since there are countless conditions your probation may contain. Failing to follow any one of the conditions of your probation will result in a violation. The most common forms of violation are failing to stay current with payments, failing to report each month, testing positive for drugs and committing a new offense.
What happens when someone violates probation in Hillsborough County?
The probation officer could arrest them on the spot under certain circumstance, but usually, an affidavit of violation is presented to the court, a warrant is sworn out and signed and the probationer is found and arrested.
What is the difference between supervised and unsupervised probation in Hillsborough County?
Supervised probation means that you must report once a month either in person or by mail to ensure that you are staying current with your requirements. Unsupervised probation, which is known as administrative probation in Florida is a form of non-contact supervision and generally occurs when half of a terminal probation is complete on cases that have a low risk of harm to the community, the probationer need not report and when his term of supervision expires the probation ends.
When can probation in Hillsborough County be revoked?
It can be revoked anytime a violation occurs provided standards of proof that support the violation are met.
Can you appeal a probation revocation in Hillsborough County?
Yes, you can.
How can a Tampa defense attorney help with a violation of probation case?
A defense attorney can help gather mitigating information to present to the court, we can also ensure that all the rules and laws are followed regarding your alleged violation. We can often get court hearings weeks faster than normal to expedite your case in Hillsborough County you can genuinely be in court the day after the violation is in the system.
Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer to Represent You at Your Violation of Probation (VOP) Hearing
[Image: Tampa Violation of Probation Lawyer] The prospect of going to jail can be very frightening, but you can maximize your chances of getting another chance and avoiding incarceration when you trust your case to Your Lawyer. He will represent you and your interests, working to convince the court that you deserve another opportunity to continue serving out your probation.
Don’t give up on your opportunity to maintain your freedom! Contact a top Tampa VOP lawyer to help represent you at your violation of probation hearing. To arrange a free, confidential case consultation, contact Your Lawyer by calling 813-933-6807.