If you’ve been charged with violating probation in Florida, there are important factors you need to take into consideration when deciding how to handle the charge. First, is it a technical violation or a new law violation? Here’s how to tell the difference:
• A technical violation is any violation that does not involve a new arrest. Technical violations may result from not paying costs in a timely manner or for failing to inform a probation officer when you move.. In a technical violation, the State of Florida must show that probation was willfully violated, which can be difficult to prove: for instance, in the case of not paying a fine, the State would need to prove you did not pay even though you had the ability to pay.
• A new law violation occurs when an individual on probation is arrested for committing a new crime. New law violations can have very serious consequences, and individuals accused of these violations need to proceed only under the guidance of an experienced attorney. Pleading guilty to a new law violation – even something as minor as driving with a suspended license – can make it very easy for the State to prove that a violation occurred.
Other issues to consider:
• Does the State of Florida have the authority to arrest an individual for a probation violation? If the warrant for the violation was signed after the probationary period has ended, the answer is no.
• In addition to proving willful violation, the State also must prove the conditions of the probation were explained properly.
• The State must have more than hearsay to prove the violation; the violation cannot be proven based on another individual’s word alone.
What to do in the event of a probation violation?
• Hire an attorney. Hiring an attorney as soon as you become aware of an impending violation is the best way to ensure an optimal outcome. A lawyer skilled in handling probation violation issues will help establish a bond reduction hearing soon after your arrest to limit the amount of time spent in jail waiting for a hearing.
• Once released on bond, it is essential to continue to report to your probation officer and satisfy the requirements of your probation. Ideally, you should aim to exceed the requirements: for instance, if 50 hours of community service are required, consider doing 100 hours.
• Be sure to appear in court as required.
• Meet with your lawyer to provide your side of the story so the lawyer can develop the best defense for you.
In Florida, violations of probation issues are serious legal matters that can result in significant jail time or even prison. Handling them effectively requires the guidance of a skilled and experienced attorney. Without the guidance of an attorney who has extensive knowledge of probation violation issues, most individuals can make their situations much worse. If you or a loved one has been accused of violating probation or has a pending warrant, contact Valkenburg Law Group, P.A. immediately. We’ve handled many cases just like yours and we know what it takes to present the most effective defense.