Probation Violations

Criminal Attorney Dedicated to Assisting Clearwater Defendants

Probation is a consequence that can be imposed as part or all of a sentence for a crime, such as petty theft or a DUI. It is a substitute for prison time. Generally, it is imposed with rules and conditions that the probationer must follow. For example, you may need to meet with a probation officer on a regular basis, and it would be a violation of probation to fail to do so. Violations can be technical or substantive. If you are concerned about technical or substantive probation violations, you should consult an experienced Clearwater probation violation lawyer. Hanlon Law is ready to assist you.

Understanding Probation Violations in Florida

In Florida, probation is imposed in lieu of a prison sentence as a grace of the state. Its purpose is to both rehabilitate the defendant and protect society. Probation violations occur if you willfully and substantially fail to obey the terms and conditions of probation.

You should take probation seriously. In order to stay on probation rather than going to prison, you need to avoid violating probation. Probation violations can be technical or substantive.

Substantive violations happen when a new and separate offense is perpetrated during the period of probation. For example, if you were given probation as a result of a DUI conviction, and then you drove on your suspended license, this would be a substantive probation violation. Similarly, if you were caught stealing a car while on probation for rape, this would be considered a substantive violation of probation.

For a substantive violation, you can face another criminal trial, for which you can hire a probation violation attorney in the Clearwater area. The prosecutor would need to prove the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. In addition, you would likely lose probation for the first conviction and need to serve prison time instead of continuing with probation.

A technical violation involves a failure to obey the rules and conditions of probation, when the failure does not constitute a separate criminal offense. When you are put on probation, you will need to follow certain rules, possibly including getting and keeping a job, staying in school, going to regular meetings with a probation officer, not owning firearms, undergoing drug and alcohol testing, and more. These conditions may be numerous and hard to follow. For example, if you miss drug and alcohol testing, this is a technical violation.

You can be penalized for a technical violation. In most cases, people with one technical violation will not need to spend time in prison, and the penalty will not be as severe. However, even though it typically is not as harsh as the punishment for a substantive violation, it is important to retain a Clearwater probation violation attorney for the hearing. Probation can be revoked upon a showing that you willfully and deliberately violated one or more conditions of probation. The lower court has discretion to determine whether there has been this type of willful and substantial violation and whether it has been demonstrated by the greater weight of the evidence (a lower standard than "beyond a reasonable doubt").

In most cases, a judge will modify probation in response to a technical probation violation. However, if a judge revokes probation, you can be incarcerated and then sentenced to as much time in prison as you could have initially faced. For example, if you were in prison for two years and then put on probation because it was a first offense, but you could have been in prison for a maximum of five years, you can be incarcerated for the entire five years. Multiple technical violations are likely to result in your needing to serve the maximum sentence that you could have initially been given. For example, if you did not meet with your probation officer, did not go to classes, and did not pay supervision costs, the court might revoke your probation and require you to serve the maximum sentence.

Hire an Experienced Probation Violation Lawyer in Clearwater

Probation is considered a privilege in Florida, and it can be taken away for failing to follow the rules or committing another crime. Technical or substantive probation violations may result in penalties. While technical probation violations may not seem like a big deal, they can add up over time and eventually result in your facing a prison sentence. Our firm's founder, Clearwater criminal lawyer Will Hanlon, has defended the accused since 1994. Contact us at 727-897-5413 or via our online form.

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