Probation is used in the state of Florida as an alternative to incarceration. Terms of each probation sentence can vary, but often include frequent check-ins with a supervising officer and can also include drug testing, community service, work release, and even more.
When an individual violates the terms of their probation, the probation is often revoked and the defendant is incarcerated. When incarcerated, bond will often be denied to the defendant on a violation of probation (VOP) if the charge is a felony. At that point, they must go to court where the judge may revoke, modify, or reinstate the probation. A plea bargain may be reached with the prosecutors as well to resolve the VOP. Another massive consequence of a VOP is the potential to be convicted and adjudicated guilty on the charge if you otherwise had adjudication withheld. Furthermore, the terms of the original sentence for the crime may then be imposed rather than probation or supervision.
If you have been accused of violating your probation, contact an experienced violation of probation attorney in Tampa today. The Elsea Law Firm utilizes our experience, both defending and prosecuting clients, to provide the absolute best defense for our client and aim to achieve the best possible outcome in the courtroom. Contact the Elsea Law Firm today at 813-451-8583 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Tampa criminal defense attorneys.
Florida Statute § 948.06 describes a probation violation as a situation in which your supervising officer believes you violated or failed to complete certain terms of your probation supervision. When the officer believes you have violated your probation, an arrest warrant will likely be issued for you, at which point an officer may arrest you. It is critical to have an experienced defense attorney to help you navigate your VOP.
If any of these terms are imposed on your probation and not met, the officer may deem this a violation of probation and a warrant may be issued for your arrest. If the original charge is a felony, especially, it is unlikely a bond will be permitted on the VOP, requiring you to sit in county jail until the violation of probation is resolved and a new sentence is issued.
When you have been charged with a VOP, a hearing will be set to determine, in front of a judge, if your probation was actually violated. A jury is not allowed in a VOP Hearing. Furthermore, witnesses may be called and the defendant can actually be forced to testify.
Furthermore, the burden of proof on the side of prosecution for a VOP is significantly lower than a criminal charge, only requiring proof that it is more likely the probation was violated than it is likely it was not violated.
Depending on the original charge, the defendant’s criminal record, and several other factors, there are numerous forms of probation that may be imposed. Community Control is the most-strict form of supervision in Florida and is often the final-chance before being sentenced to the Florida Department of Corrections.
According to Florida Statute § 948.001, community control is a form of supervised custody in which the defendant is heavily-supervised and often restrained to the confines of their home. Community control is often called “House Arrest.”
Defendants on community control are often required to check in with their probation officer on a set-day each and every week. At this time the defendant must provide the probation officer with a detailed schedule of their activities for the next week. Often, a person on community control must remain at home except for treatment, medical reasons, employment, errands, or religious purposes. The probation officer may do a check-in at home or wherever the schedule indicates the defendant should be. If the defendant does not follow the schedule, this can constitute a violation. If the defendant is scheduled to be home, but the probation officer arrives and the defendant is absent, this can also constitute a violation.
In the most strict form of community control, a GPS ankle-monitor may be imposed to further enforce house arrest. Penalties for violating community control are often similar to violating probation, but given the original charge, the re-sentencing can be much more harsh than a standard VOP.
If you violate one or several of the terms of your probation and your supervising officer determines your probation was violated, they will report this to the court. At this time, an arrest warrant will likely be issued. Once you are arrested, you will likely be held in the county jail from which the charge originated, and will be held without bond most likely. From there, a VOP hearing will be scheduled. Between your intake into county jail and your hearing, your attorney may work with the prosecutor for an agreeable plea, working to argue on your behalf. If a plea deal cannot be reached, a VOP hearing will be held, at which time the presiding Judge will determine if the probation was violated and what the subsequent sentence will be. Anyone accused of violating probation should contact an experienced Tampa probation violation lawyer immediately.
Your attorney will work to dissect the facts of the VOP, as well as communicating with the judge and prosecutor to attempt to obtain the best resolution possible for you.
Each situation is different when it comes to a violation of probation, so each situation must be carefully analyzed.
If you or a loved one have been accused of violating probation in Tampa, Florida or Hillsborough County, contact the experienced VOP lawyers at the Elsea Law Firm at 813-451-8583 or submit a contact form to schedule a free consultation. Our goal is to fight for YOUR rights. Ensuring your rights are protected and we can obtain the best possible and allow you to resume your life. Violations of probation are a very, very serious matter.