Getting into legal hot water is nerve-wracking. Between the possibility of jail time, fees, and a permanent record, it’s enough to affect your sleep, health, and relationships. To add insult to injury, legal terms are so confusing. Surely getting charged with a misdemeanor is not that terrible, is it? What does it actually mean? And what are the consequences of misdemeanor probation?
What Is a Misdemeanor?
First, let’s start with the basics. Misdemeanors are crimes that are less serious offenses. Some examples include shoplifting, driving with a suspended driver’s license, stealing an item that’s worth less than $300, or hitting someone without causing major damage.
Depending on the type of misdemeanor, it can be classified as either a first-degree or second-degree misdemeanor.
A person convicted of a first-degree misdemeanor faces up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Meanwhile, a person convicted of a second-degree misdemeanor faces up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
As an alternative to jail time, (or a reduced sentence), your defense attorney could negotiate probation.
What Is Probation?
Florida law defines the term probation as a form of community supervision that requires continued contact with a probation officer, as well as compliance with additional conditions. These conditions may include any of the following:
- Report to the probation officer, as directed by the Court
- Regular visits from the probation officer at home or work
- Continue working or find suitable employment
- Remain within a specific geographical location
- Comply with all laws (Violating any law is a violation of probation.)
- Pay for damages caused by the misdemeanor
- Support dependents
- Pay debts
- Pay applicable fees
- No association with anyone who engages in criminal activities
- Submit to random drug testing
- Being prohibited from possessing, carrying, or owning a firearm
- Any additional conditions the Court may consider to be proper (e.g. no contact, anger management classes, etc…)
Probation is not a right. If you have a defense attorney, they may request it if you were convicted of a non-violent crime and have no prior criminal record. It’s up to the judge to grant it.
If you violate probation, any law enforcement officer who is aware of the probation may arrest you. By the same token, if the judge finds out before any law enforcement officer, they may issue a warrant for your arrest.
Fortunately, the terms of misdemeanor probation are more relaxed than those for felony probation, and some forms of supervision can be conducted via phone.
How Long is Misdemeanor Probation?
There is no specific set time for misdemeanor probation. The duration depends on the crime committed and the terms of the probation. However, it will never be more than one year.
Can You Leave the State While On Probation For a Misdemeanor?
Generally speaking, there are no travel restrictions within the United States when on misdemeanor probation. However, you may need to get permission from the probation officer, depending on the terms of the probation. When in doubt, check in and consult with your attorney.
Call Us to Discuss Your Case
At Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins, P.A., we have experienced attorneys who can best design a strategy to help you.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended to be for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney/client relationship.