We understand that violations of probation (VOP) are particularly difficult on the accused and their loved ones. In Jacksonville, and throughout Florida, you are not typically given a bond on violations of probation and many warrants do not have a bond. As a result, you may have to stay in jail until your court date, placing you in a difficult position to defend yourself, and leaving your family without a spouse, sibling, parent, or child.
Violation of Probation
The term "Violation of Probation" is often abbreviated as "VOP." Florida law provides for many different types of probation that all involve some level of supervision with a probation officer. Examples of different types of probation violations include:
violation of misdemeanor probation;
violation of felony probation;
violation of drug offender probation;
violation of community control;
violation of community control II;
violation of juvenile commitment; or
violation of juvenile community control imposed as a consequence of a juvenile having been sentenced as an adult.
Not only do we represent clients accused of violating probation, but we also help clients apply for:
modify or change the terms of their probation; or
early termination of probation or community control.
If you are on probation, our goal is to help you complete the probation successfully so that avoid going back to jail on a VOP arrest warrant.
Types of Probation Violations in Florida
A violation of probation can occur for a number of reasons including:
failing to report to the Probation Officer for monthly meetings;
failing to pay Court Costs, Fines, Restitution or Cost of Supervision;
not being truthful to the Probation Officer;
not completing the minimum number of community service hours required in a particular month;
not following the instructions of the Probation Officer;
moving from an approved residence without permission;
changing employment without notifying the Probation Officer;
failure to comply with the Terms of Curfew;
leaving the county without permission from the Probation Officer;
failure to successfully complete a counseling program such as "Anger Management" or the "Batterer's Intervention Program";
violation for getting arrested on a new misdemeanor offense;
violation of a county ordinance;
substantive violation for a new felony arrest.
The most serious VOP cases involve a new felony arrest. If the State Attorney's Offices formally files the new charges, then the defendant will answer the violation of probation charges before the felony division in which the defendant was originally sentenced.
When a Probation Violation Occurs?
Violations of probation can be divided into two categories: technical violations and substantive violations.
The term "technical violation" is defined as a violation of a term or condition of the probation that does not involve an allegation that you were arrested or committed a new law violation. Technical violations of probation can include failing to pay restitution, fines or court costs, failing to complete community service, failing a urine test, or failing to meet with your probation officer.
The term "substantive violation" is defined to include any new arrest on a law violation that occurred after you were put on probation including any felony or a misdemeanor criminal offense. In some cases, the probationer will be arrested on a warrant for a crime that allegedly occurred before the person was put on probation which should not be counted as a violation of probation.
The Probation officer usually handles technical violations. For the first violation or a minor one, the probationer may get a warning. For a serious repeat violation, your probation officer may report you to court. A judge there will determine if the probationer has really committed violation and will set the sanction. Jacksonville Probation Violation can bring about serious consequences, including time in prison.
Procedures in Violation of Probation Hearings in Florida
After the probation officer submits the paperwork for the violation of probation ("VOP"), the judge can grant a bond. Although the judge is permit to set a bond amount, many judges just issue a "no bond" warrant. A "no bond" warrant means that you will sit in jail until your case is resolved without the option of bonding out of custody.
In some cases, a person arrested on a VOP warrant will sit in jail for weeks or months until the case is resolved. As a result, it is common for people who believe they will be arrested for violation of probation to stop reporting to their probation officer. Some individuals even flee from their home to avoid being arrested on the VOP arrest warrant.
Failing to report to your probation officer or absconding only makes the matter worse by causing additional grounds for the violation. If the court knows that you failed to report or absconded, the court may be less inclined to give you another chance at successfully completing your probation when you are eventually picked up on the warrant and brought before the judge. The best results in a VOP case in Jacksonville, FL, occur when you face the allegations appropriately.
In a violation of probation case, there is no jury trial and the burden of proof is merely a preponderance of the evidence (not the higher "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" standard). Consequently, prosecutors may have a much easier time winning a violation of probation hearing then winning a case during a jury trial.
If you are found to be in violation of your probation, either after a hearing or after entering an "admission," the court can sentence you to any sentence that could have originally been imposed, which means that you can receive the statutory maximum sentence for that particular offense or offenses. For example, on a second-degree felony, Burglary, you could receive fifteen (15) years in Florida State Prison for violating your probation, even if the violation was merely for a technical violation.
The court, however, has other options besides prison. For example, the court can modify your probation to lengthen the term of probation or to add provisions for a more intensive drug treatment program or additional community service hours.
The Florida Department of Corrections supervises different types of probation, including community control, sex offender probation, and drug offender probation. If you have been arrested for violating probation, violating sex offender probation, or violating drug offender probation, contact an experienced Jacksonville Probation Attorney to discuss your case.
If you've been arrested for a probation violation or community control violation in Florida, your freedom and future are at risk. Consulting a criminal defense attorney will be your best option in order to better understand what you're up against and whether you need immediate legal representation. With a Duval County Probation Violation Lawyer at your side, you have the opportunity to avoid a conviction and move on with your life and your probation as it currently is, rather than facing imprisonment or extended probation. At Ashley Goggins Law, P.A. we are here to help. Contact our firm for a free consultation at 904-903-4522 and find out what a difference a lawyer at our firm can make in your future!