The defendant requested officer assistance to remove things out of his home during a pending divorce. The officers discovered the defendant had a pending violation of probation warrant from a previous reckless driving conviction. The defendant’s payments for supervision had fallen into arrears. The officers arrested the defendant on charges of violating the terms of his probation.
Violating Terms of Probation
A violation of probation (VOP) occurs when the defendant knowingly and willingly violates the terms of his or her probation. Probation is Florida is not a right, rather it is a privilege. Common probation violations include having a new charge against the defendant, receiving positive drug tests, not completing a drug program, or failure to pay restitution or fines.
Penalties for violation of probation include a sentence that may have originally been imposed on the defendant. One could possibly just receive a warning if it is the first violation. A probation officer could request community service to be completed. Extra fines could be added to what the offender owes or a new charge could be put into place. In certain cases, probation officers could ask that counseling be completed by the defendant. If the probation officer does not feel that the probation time is long enough, they could also seek to have this increased.
The Probation Hearing
During a Violation of Probation hearing, the judge will review your case to determine if you did actually violate your probation. Many factors will be taken into consideration, such as the previous criminal history of the defendant, the nature of the violation, as well as other factors. There is not a jury for the case, and the probation officer will have less legal protection versus if the defendant had committed a new crime.
In Florida, there are three things that a judge may do at a VOP hearing:
- Reinstate your probation – Probation will proceed as the original terms of the agreement states.
- Modify your probation – A change in your probation will occur, typically by adding more time or additional fines. If extra treatment is needed, such as drug counseling, this too could be added to the probation terms.
- Revoke your probation – Probation is terminated and the original charge will be reinstated. This could involve jail time.
Legal Services for Violation of Probation
If you have been arrested for a violation of probation, you need legal assistance. Musca Law Firm can help you with this. We have skilled lawyers that put together strong defenses for your case. We aggressively negotiate with the prosecution to protect your rights. We pride ourselves on the fact that our phone lines are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in order to provide accessible and dependable legal services at your convenience. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation session over the phone to new clients, in order to best understand the specifics of your case so that we can serve you most effectively moving forward. We serve all of Florida and have many offices located in different cities for your ease and convenience of location.
RESULT: The defense instructed the client to complete all of the other conditions of his probation prior to the hearing. The attorney convinced the State and the probation officer to terminate the remaining term of probation and vacate the new charge without penalty.