Florida Violations of Probation; Orlando Criminal Lawyer
A Violation of Probation [VOP] or a Violation of Community Control [VOCC] are serious situations. A person facing a violation of probation faces prison time up to the maximum he or she could have been originally sentenced to for the offense charged.
Violation Must Be Willful - Not by Mistake
The State must establish that a person "willfully" violated his probation or community control. It cannot be due to mistake or being unaware of the consequences of an act. Although the standard of proof necessary to establish a violation is lower than at the trial level, technical violations do have the defense of "I didn't know." See Garity v. State, 970 So.2d 500 (Fla. 5th DCA 2007).
Consequences of Probation Violations
In Florida, the prosecutor has to convince the judge that the probationer violated his or her probation or community control and then the judge can sentence the probationer up to the maximum he could have at the original sentencing. This means that the court can sentence the probationer up to the maximum term of incarceration that the crime allows (minus credit for time served).
You can violate general conditions of probation (technical violations), special conditions of probation (technical violations), or you can violate by being accused of committing a new crime (substantive violation). Technical violations are numerous and are often for:
- Not filing a monthly report (absconding).
- Moving from residence without notifying your supervision officer.
- Use of intoxicants in excess (as evidenced by a positive or "dirty" urinalysis).
- Committing some illegal behavior (as evidenced by a dirty urinalysis).
- Substantive violations of probation are those that involve a new criminal offense being charged against you. Any new offense committed will result in a violation.
Often times there are defenses to violations of probation. The first thing you must remember is to never admit to a violation. Admitting that you have violated your probation usually eliminates most defenses you may have had. Acknowledging that you did something that, at the time, you did not know would violate you may be cured.
The most important thing to remember is, even if you believe you will be violated, always report to your supervision officer as scheduled. Being afraid that you would be violated is not a defense to not reporting. If you have been arrested you must truthfully fill out your monthly report. Failing to report and/or lying on your monthly report (Blue Form) are sure ways to being found in violation of your probation.
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