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Understanding Violation Of Probation In Florida

When a person is placed on probation in Florida, it is an alternative to incarceration. It may ideally be seen as a way to provide a person a second chance and a way to avoid punishment. However, if a person is later found in violation of probation, they can face serious penalties.

Violation of probation may occur when a probationer does something that violates one of the conditions that was placed on their probation, or through the commission of a new crime. Under Florida law, any law enforcement officer who has reasonable grounds to believe that a probationer has violated their probation in a material respect may arrest that person or have them arrested without a warrant. The law enforcement officer making such an arrest has to be aware of the probationer’s probation at the time of arrest. However, it is more likely that a probation officer, or anyone with knowledge of the violation, would prepare an affidavit to a court stating facts that show a probationer is in violation of probation. In this case, a judge may issue a warrant for the probationer’s arrest or may issue a notice to appear if the probationer has no prior convictions. When the probationer appears in court, they are often held without bond.

Although “material respect” as required above is not defined under the law and is considered on a case by cases basis, a violation may be considered material if it relates to one of the original conditions placed when the person was placed on probation. This can include failing a drug test, failure to complete a drug treatment program, failure to attend probation-related appointments, failure to look for employment, or any other specific conditions placed on the individual. In order to successfully show a defendant is in violation of probation and have their probation revoked, the prosecution has to show any alleged violation was willful and substantial.

Violation of Probation hearings

In a probation revocation hearing, the probationer is allowed to have an attorney present to represent him. As in all criminal trials and hearings, having an experienced criminal defense attorney can be crucial to the accused. It is also important to remember that a revocation hearing is not like a criminal trial. For example, a probationer may not have the same Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination when providing information to the court regarding the probation violation, unless the violation and testimony relates to a new crime. An experienced attorney can make sure your rights are protected by making the right objections to the prosecution’s questions.

If probation is revoked, a probationer faces the maximum penalty that the court would originally have issued instead of probation. This could be anywhere from a few months to years in prison depending on the original crime for which the person was charged.

Contact a Florida Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know is on probation and about to face a violation of probation hearing, you need an experienced violation of probation attorney representing you. Consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can advise you on your case. Contact the Clearwater attorneys at Roman & Roman, P.A. for a consultation and to learn how we can be of assistance.

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