As defined in Chapter 948, Florida Statutes, probation is a type of community supervision requiring an offender to maintain certain contacts with specified officers (i.e. probation, parole, community supervision officers) and to abide by certain terms or “conditions,” as provided by court order.
Violations of probation consequences can be serious, and frequently include no right to bond upon arrest, no tolling of time already served on probation, the addition of subsequent charges, a guilty conviction for the original offense, and/or an imposition of any sentence the original offense could have incurred.
Violations of Probation
To establish a violation of probation, the prosecution must meet a minimum standard of proof and establish that the alleged violation was both willful and substantial in nature.
PROBATION HEARING PROCEEDINGS
You are not entitled to a jury in a probation violation hearing. A judge will hear your case. Not only can probation violation allegations from witnesses be used against you, but you can be forced to testify against yourself.
An important fact to consider is, in a probation hearing, the prosecuting attorney only needs to prove a violation occurred by Preponderance of the Evidence, which means it was more likely you violated probation than you did not. The typical evidentiary standard in criminal cases is “beyond a reasonable doubt”. This affords you much less protection than you would normally have in a criminal case, while still subjecting you to potentially long jail or prison sentences. Attorney Dunn fully believes the VOP cases are the biggest end-around for the State when prosecuting a case, due to the much lower burden of proof.
Defenses to Violations of Probation
There are many ways to mitigate the severity of your probation violation. The judge will look at several factors in determining punishment for violating probation. For example, the judge will look at whether you made reasonable efforts to comply with your probation, whether you intentionally violated, and whether you are a first time offender.
Additional Resources for Florida Violations of Probation
Sarasota County Probation Division –
The Sarasota County Probation program is dedicated to improving the quality of life of Leon County residents by making them productive and responsible citizens. The office is located at:
Sarasota County Probation Department
1991 Main Street, Suite 210
Sarasota FL 34236
Manatee County Probation Division
1051 Manatee Ave W, 5th Floor, Hensley Wing
Bradenton, FL, 34205
Desoto County Probation
Desoto County Courthouse
126 N Hillsborough Avenue
Arcadia, FL 34266
Florida Statutes Online –
This website contains all of the Florida Statutes governing Florida’s rules for probation, community control and violations of probation and community control.
Violation of Probation cases are extremely serious cases. If you or a loved one have a VOP, contact The DUNN Law Firm as soon as you can at 941-866-4352. It is imperative that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to achieve the most desired outcome for your case.