What To Do If You are Accused of Violating Your Probation
Florida Courts are empowered to order a defendant to serve probation when they are convicted of a crime. Basically, probation enables a defendant to continue to live at liberty within their community rather than being incarcerated in prison. Probation comes in multiple forms and features numerous court-established requirements that the defendant must adhere to. If a defendant violates the terms of their probation he or she could be sentenced to prison to serve out the remainder of their sentence. This is why it is so critical to retain the services of an experienced Winter Park probation violation defense attorney.
Understanding the Different Types of Probation
A Court will recommend a type of probation and that probation will be monitored by the Florida Department of Corrections. Below is a list of some of the most common types of probation:
- Regular Probation – requires you to remain in regular contact with a parole or probation officer.
- Administrative Probation – you are not required to remain in contact with a parole or probation officer.
- Sex Offender Probation – you are placed under supervision by a parole or probation officer and you must adhere to a court-mandated sex offender treatment plan.
- Drug Offender Probation – you are placed under supervision by a parole or probation officer and you must adhere to a court-mandated drug offender treatment plan.
As mentioned, probation requires you follow court-ordered guidelines and stipulations such as:
- Attending a mandatory rehabilitation program;
- A set of number of hours of community service;
- Reporting to a probation or parole officer;
- Limited travel rights; and/or
- Frequent drug testing
Fighting the Probation Violation Charges
A probation officer is generally the individual who makes an assessment of whether you violated the terms of your probation. They have the discretion to simply give you a warning or reprimand. If a probation officer believes that the alleged violation is serious enough, they can cause you to be arrested and held in jail until your appearance before the judge to assess the validity (or not) of the accusations and determine the appropriate punishment if you are found to be wilfully in violation of your probation.
Probation violation hearings are somewhat unique since you are confined to arguing your case to a judge- there is no jury trial afforded for probation violation hearings. Another important distinction is that the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard does not apply. This means that although the prosecutor must still prove that you violated the terms of your probation, they are only required to meet a “preponderance of the evidence” standard (think tipping the scale of justice just slightly one way or the other).
In Florida, there are two types of probation violation – (1) substantive and (2) technical. A substantive probation violation occurs if you commit a new crime. This is the more serious version of a probation violation.
A technical probation violation is failing to comply with the technical guidelines and requirements of your probation. For example, if you missed a scheduled meeting with your probation or parole officer or you failed to complete a mandatory rehabilitation program.
Contact Our Winter Park Probation Violation Attorneys
As you can see, an alleged probation violation can have serious consequences. Do not fight this alone. If you or someone you love is being accused of violating probation, contact the experienced Winter Park defense attorneys at Cotter Zelman, P.A. We can help you.