People who have resolved their criminal cases and received probation often think that the worst is over. But that’s not necessarily true. When placed on probation in Florida, it is vitally important that you do not violate that probation. When one makes the decision to accept probation, they are giving up certain rights that they had prior to doing so. For example, if one is faced with a VOP they no longer have the right to a trial by jury. Hearsay can be admissible against them at their violation hearing and the standard needed to prove a violation is considerably less than beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt. All of the above make violations of probation more difficult to defend against. The Law Office of Matthew Glassman P.A., a criminal defense law firm in Fort Lauderdale, can help you defend against a pending or potential probation violation.
Kinds of Supervision in Florida
In Florida, there are several levels of supervision. The most common level is Standard Probation. Standard probation often entails monthly reporting, random drug testing and potential curfews. Generally, the probationer is not allowed to travel outside of the County he/she was placed on probation in without further permission from the Court. Also, the defendant has to pay a monthly supervision fee and can be subject to administrative searches of their residence. A higher form of supervision commonly imposed on criminal cases is called community control. On community control the defendant cannot leave their home without it previously being placed on their schedule. Those placed on community control often are subjected to electronic monitoring and must wear a bracelet that monitors their exact location at all hours. In addition to the more stringent conditions, all of the previously mentioned conditions of standard probation are also required. The least restrictive form of supervision in the State of Florida is called administrative probation. On administrative probation the defendant simply must pay a small signup fee and then remain crime free for a period of time. There are generally no special conditions imposed while on administrative probation and the defendant is free to travel wherever they like and can even live in a different State if he or she so chooses.
What Happens if You Violate Your Probation?
Your probation officer will immediately report the violation to the Court usually in the form of a warrant. Once a warrant has been submitted to the Court then the judge will decide whether or not to sign the warrant. If the Judge decides to sign the warrant then they must next decide whether to hold the probationer without a bond or to set a bond amount. In felony cases, the majority of the warrants are signed with no bond. In fact, some violations of probation cases are not even eligible for a bond.
How Can I Avoid Potential Punishments for Probation Violations?
The easiest way is to not violate your probation. However, if you have been accused of a violation or are concerned that a violation may be coming down the pipeline then it would be wise to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Our criminal defense attorney at The Law Office of Matthew Glassman in Fort Lauderdale has handled countless violations of probation cases and can help you get the answers and attention that you need.
No Contact Orders
Perhaps one of the terms of your probation included a no contact order. No contact generally means no direct or indirect contact with the alleged victim. That means you can’t just refrain from seeing the alleged victim face to face, you must also refrain from reaching out on social media or asking a third party to get involved on your behalf. No contact orders are extremely common in domestic violence cases and most cases involving the threat or use of violence. Contacting the victim in your case is an easy and often surefire way to end up with a violation of probation.
Paying Your Bills
Many times, part of your sentencing is to pay restitution to someone. If you do not pay the money on time and you have the ability to do so, that would be another example of a probation violation. Now financial situations change and jobs come and go. The Court will hold a hearing to determine if you have the ability to pay the restitution. There is no debtors’ prison in Florida. If one does not have the ability to pay then they should not be held in violation or locked up because of it.
Another common special condition that gets imposed on probation is community service. Oftentimes, someone is sentenced to complete X amount of community service hours. Normally these hours are verified by a letter from someone at the non -profit/charitable center/Soup kitchen spelling out that you completed your required amount of hours.
Reporting to Probation Officer
The easiest way to violate your probation is to stop reporting. If you don’t report to your probation officer at the time and place that you are supposed to you will be in violation of your probation. It is very important that you remember when to report and are in constant communication with your probation officer should an emergency arise preventing you from making your scheduled appointment.