Driving under the influence, or DUI, in Florida has extensive and severe consequences. Most people are familiar with the dangers associated with driving under the influence and how driving impaired could cause severe collisions and death. Still, others might be familiar with the possible penalties a person charged with DUI in Florida’s faces if convicted of the charge. Post-conviction proceedings, especially probation proceedings, are concepts that are often misunderstood, and the consequences of a probation violation are also underestimated.
It must be remembered probation is an alternative sentence and is not a right. Probation is used as an alternative to incarceration. Therefore, anyone on probation for DUI must comply with all the terms and conditions of probation. Otherwise, they could wind up in jail because of the probation violation.
If you are on probation for DUI and received notice that you violated the terms of your probation, then you must contact highly experienced and knowledgeable DUI probation defense lawyers to protect your freedom. Although you are entitled to due process of law, the standard by which a judge could revoke your probation is much lower because you have already been convicted of the underlying crime. However, seasoned DUI probation violation defense lawyers can help you mitigate the potential penalty you face for violating your probation and convince the judge to allow you to complete the term of your probation.
Section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes is the state’s DUI law. Anyone convicted of DUI could go to jail. However, the judge must also place the person on probation for at least one year under §316.193 as an alternative to jail or to be served “from and after” the offender secures release from incarceration.
Probation is essentially a contract between the probationer and the court, which grants the probationer freedom in exchange for completion of certain programs and adherence to certain standards established at the offender’s sentencing hearing. People on probation for DUI, you must comply with the standard terms of probation and any special conditions of probation Announced by the judge at sentencing. Some of the standard terms of probation in Florida are:
- Reporting to the probation officer as directed to give an account of your activities for the previous month;
- pay a probation fee of $50.00 per month along with statutory surcharges, the cost of probation services, in addition to a $1.00 per day fee that cannot exceed $60.00 for the duration of the period of probation;
- You must keep a current address on file with the probation department, and if you plan on changing your address, you must first receive court approval;
- you might be ordered to surrender all firearms and ammunition for the duration of the probation. However, this provision could be rescinded on a case by case basis;
- You will be ordered not to violate any criminal law or court order;
- remain employed or continue with a job search or educational opportunities;
- attend Alcoholics Anonymous or narcotics anonymous classes;
- attend intensive drug therapy including inpatient counseling for drug and alcohol abuse;
- Perform 50 hours of community service minimum during probation; and
- complete all mandated driver education courses.
Depending on the nature of the DUI offense, the sentencing judge might order you to stay away from certain individuals, avoid entering certain establishments, or refrain from driving with minors in a vehicle while you were on probation, or pay restitution for any losses not covered by car insurance.
The probation officer assigned to your will pay close attention to your compliance with the terms of probation, or lack thereof. Some probation officers will work more closely with their probationers then others and offer help instead of alleging a violation of probation and seeking a jail sentence. Notwithstanding the individual idiosyncrasies of probation officers, every probationer must comply with every term of probation set by the court irrespective of the level of cooperation. They received from their probation officer.
Your probation cannot be revoked without a hearing before a judge. Fundamental notions of due process require the probation department and the prosecutor’s office to give you notice of all allegations relating to probation violations. A person cannot be punished for a probation violation If he or she does not first receive clear and unequivocal notice of the terms of probation as well as notice of the allegations made by the probation Department let the probationer violated a term of the probationary contract.
A probationer who is defending against a violation of probation has the right to representation of counsel of their choosing, an opportunity to call witnesses, an opportunity to cross-examine and confront all of the witnesses called by the probation department to prove a violation of probation, and present evidence in his or her favor. The probationer cannot retry the allegations underpinning the charge for which he or she is on probation. The sole issue at a probation violation hearing relates to whether the probationer violated a term of probation, and if so, determining the appropriate sentence commensurate with the violation.
The probation officer bears the burden of production in persuasion at a probation violation hearing. The standard the judge will apply is a lower evidentiary standard because a person on probation has already been convicted of the underlying charge. Therefore judges will decide the case based on the standard of the greater weight of the evidence rather than beyond a reasonable doubt. It is important to understand that if your probation officer seeks to revoke your probation based on allegations that you committed a new criminal offense; the probation department and prosecution do not have to prove the facts of the new crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Rather, a person could be found in violation of probation based on a new offense and sentence accordingly, while receiving the benefit of an acquittal on the new charge because of the more stringent standard of proof used in a criminal trial in contrast to a probation violation.
The rules of evidence in a probation surrender hearing are less stringent than at a trial. Therefore, the probationer has a greater opportunity to admit evidence at the hearing, which shows that the probationer did not violate any term of probation or is an attempt to convince the judge to reprobate rather than revoke and incarcerate.
Musca Law DUI Probation Violation Defense Attorneys
Call Musca Law today at 888-484-5057 for aggressive representation at your DUI probation violation hearing. Probation violation hearings are incredibly serious legal matters that must be litigated by experienced and dedicated DUI defense lawyers to avoid the harsh consequences of a DUI probation violation in Florida.