The Denson Firm

Understanding Violation of Probation in Florida

Probation is a common alternative to incarceration. It provides a certain amount of freedom but does have terms and conditions you must abide by – or you may face harsh consequences. Violation of probation in Florida is serious and can jeopardize your freedom.

What is Considered Probation Violation in Florida?

A violation of probation (VOP) in Florida occurs when an individual “substantially and willfully” disobeys the terms and conditions of their court-ordered probation. You do not have as much protection as you did initially, such as having no right to a jury trial in your hearing, no statute of limitations, and no right to request a bond, among other stipulations. You can even be forced to testify against yourself.

“Substantially and willfully” are two of the most important words here, which is what the prosecutor must prove. Even if you accidentally disobeyed one or more of your terms and conditions, you may still be convicted of VOP.

Is violation of probation a felony in Florida? The answer to this common question depends on your original offense and the particular probation violation.

Legal representation is highly advised if you are facing a violation of a probation charge.

Technical Violations of Probation

A technical violation occurs when someone disobeys one or more of the terms and conditions detailed in their court-ordered probation. Examples can be failing to meet with your probation officer, failing a drug test, or failing to pay your restitution fees. It is one of the two types of violations, and the second is called a substantive violation.

A substantive violation is when someone commits another crime violating the law.

What to Expect

First, your probation officer will file an affidavit with the court. This document contains details of why they believe you were in violation of your probation in Florida. After that, you will receive a summons from the court to appear in a hearing, or a warrant will be issued for your arrest.

Depending on the seriousness of the charges, things can happen quickly. Law enforcement may seek to arrest you right away. Alternatively, it may take several days. The court may not allow you to bond out if you are placed in jail. When you have your hearing, the court will decide on your penalties.

Probation Violation Penalties

There are three basic penalties. The judge may take one of the following actions at the hearing:

  • Revoke your probation — incarceration for a period of time not in excess of the statutory maximum penalty for the original offense
  • Modify your probation — changing the terms and conditions (typically more severe)
  • Reinstate your probation — allow you to continue your current terms and conditions

You could very well have to pay for your probation violation in Florida jail time if you admit to it or the judge finds you in violation.

Possible Defenses

Possible defenses of violation of probation in Florida include:

  • Inability to pay
  • Medical emergency
  • Sufficient time remaining (to complete required terms and conditions)
  • Unaware of special condition (placed by a judge or probation officer)
  • Curfew compliance
  • Ineptitude or negligence
  • Civic traffic infraction
  • Constructive possession (of contraband)
  • Unilaterally imposed conditions

Your attorney can evaluate the situation to decide on the most appropriate defense in your case.

Probation Violation 1st Offense

How does violation of probation work in Florida when it is your 1st offense? If you commit a low-risk violation and qualify for a mandatory modification or continuation of probation, they cannot revoke your probation. It must be either modified or continued.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Can a probation violation be dismissed in Florida?

The judge has the discretion to let you go with just a warning if it is the first violation, you were previously convicted of a minor, non-violent crime, and if you show genuine remorse. The standard probation terms would continue.

How does violation of probation work in Florida?

The court considers many factors in determining your penalty. You could get incarcerated, face more significant restrictions, or possibly be able to continue under your current terms. A good defense is critical to the outcome.

What is the Florida Statute for violation of probation?

The Statute for violation of probation in Florida is § 948.06.

What happens if I am arrested while on probation?

You may or may not be able to get a bond, depending on the severity of the probation violation and your initial offense.

If you or a loved one are dealing with a charge of probation violation in Pinellas County, Florida, contact The Denson Firm immediately for a free consultation.

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