Each year, hundreds of people from all ethnicities, age and gender, are placed on probation. If you or someone you know has violated probation, it is important to understand not only how probation works, but also the consequences associated with breaking its provisions.
The Basics of Probation
Many people convicted of a crime are able to avoid prison time by agreeing to probation. However, those under probation do not maintain the same freedoms they did before. They are under constant supervision of their state appointed probation officer, and must follow a number of strict rules and regulations.
Generally, those on probation must obtain employment, a residence, regularly meet with their probation officer, and avoid any further arrest. Any violations of probation can lead to longer probation time or incarceration.
This type of violation refers to any of the technicalities enforced by probation. These can be obvious violations like missing or arriving late to a meeting with the probation officer. However, it can also include less blatant actions such as failing to obtain permission before changing addresses.
A substantive violation occurs when a new crime is committed. When you are on probation, you are generally not allowed to be associated with known criminals or anyone who you know might commit a crime. Even if you are not charged with a crime, being around when someone does commit a crime could be a violation of probation.
Violation of Probation Charges
If your probation officer believes you have committed a violation, they will file a violation of probation (VOP) claim. Your case will then go before a judge to determine if a violation did in fact occur. An important thing to note is that this will not be like your other trials. You will have no jury of your peers. The judge will decide if they believe you have violated your probation and charge you accordingly. The judge may now convict you on the original charge you were on probation for, and sentence you to the maximum sentence available. This is why it is important to hire a criminal attorney for your probation hearing. An experienced attorney knows how probation hearings work and can best defend your case.
Those facing violation of probation charges should retain a knowledgeable Florida criminal attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at Proly, Laporte, and Mulligan can help you to understand and assess your violation of probation charge.