A criminal sentence may include probation either in addition to or as an alternative to incarceration. While both probation and parole are similar in many ways, probation is simply a part of the original sentence while parole is an alternative to serving time in prison. Parole has been abolished in the Florida and federal court systems. Similar to other forms of "community supervision," probation can be used to monitor offenders, connect them with treatment options, or impose other restrictions as the court sees fit.
As unfortunate as it may be, allegations of probation violations are not uncommon. The court has wide discretion in deciding whether to revoke, modify, or extend your probation based on allegations of a violation. Arrest, loss of right to bond upon arrest, forfeiture of any time served on probation, new charges, conviction for the original offense, and/or imposition of any sentence that could originally have been imposed all result from allegations of probation violation.
Violation of Probation Lawyer in West Palm Beach, FL
Contact Ian Goldstein immediately if you need help defending yourself against allegations of a probation violation. A criminal defense attorney in West Palm Beach or elsewhere in Florida can be invaluable if you are facing charges. Hiring an attorney who can look out for your best interests and steer you clear of the worst possible outcomes is a must. If you have been accused of violating the terms of your probation in Palm Beach County or Broward County, Florida, please call the firm at (561) 600-0950 to schedule a consultation.
What is a Violation of Probation (VOP)?
If your probation officer has probable cause to believe you have willfully and materially violated the terms of your probation, he or she may request that a law enforcement officer make an arrest or that a judge issue a warrant for your arrest, per Florida Statute 948.06.
Doing the following may be a condition of your probation:
- Regular meetings with your assigned probation officer
- Holding a tax-paying job
- Confined to a specific county, city, or state
- Court Fines
- Random Drug Testing
- Random Alcohol Testing
- Community Service
- County Jail Time
- Drug Treatment
- House Arrest
Probation violations, which include failing to comply with any of the requirements, carry serious repercussions.
You have the right to a hearing after your arrest for a probation violation. However, no bond is permitted in most cases, so you could be held in jail for several weeks or months before your hearing is scheduled. If accused of violating your probation, contact a South Florida VOP Defense lawyer as soon as possible.
What is a Violation of Probation Hearing?
A sentencing judge will hear the facts of your case and decide whether or not you have violated the terms and conditions of your probation at the time of your hearing. At a hearing for a violation of probation, you are not be entitled to have a jury decide your case. Allegations of probation violations made by others can be used against you, and you can even be compelled to testify against yourself.
If the prosecutor at your probation hearing believes you violated your probation, they only need to present evidence that proves it by a preponderance of the evidence as opposed to beyond a reasonable doubt. In criminal cases, "beyond a reasonable doubt" is the usual evidentiary standard, but in these cases, that standard is thrown out the window in favor of a much more lenient standard. Prosecutors typically have a much higher chance of success at a hearing regarding a violation of probation than they do when bringing a new criminal case.
Community Control (House Arrest) in Florida
In accordance with Florida Statute 948.001, "community control" refers to supervised custody in a community setting, such as a home or other location with established guidelines and procedures. In addition to their regular day-to-day patrols, law enforcement personnel also keep watch over the community on the weekends and holidays.
Community control differs from probation in that it is more restrictive than probation and can be imposed for offenses that do not qualify a person for probation. People with a history of felony convictions or serious criminal behavior may be considered for community control. Community control violations can still result in the same repercussions as probation violations, if not more severe ones.
Fighting a VOP Charge in Florida
As the judge will consider a number of factors when deciding how to punish a probation violation, there are ways to mitigate the severity of the violation. The judge will consider factors like whether or not this is your first probation violation, how hard you tried to comply, and whether or not you broke the rules on purpose. Contact a skilled probation violation attorney immediately if you are facing charges of violating probation or community control.
Palm Beach County Violation of Probation Lawyer
If you've been charged with VOP in Palm Beach County, criminal defense attorney Ian Goldstein is available to talk about your options. To find out if you have any defenses to the charges against you, you should speak with a criminal defense attorney in West Palm Beach who is familiar with Florida's probation laws.
When you hire the Law Offices of Ian Goldstein, you'll have an advocate who will work tirelessly to reduce or even have your charges dropped. Contact us at (561) 600-0950 to set up a no-obligation, initial consultation.