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Varinia Van Ness
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Varinia Van Ness’s Answers

12 total


  • What do you think could be the possiblle outcome of pleading not guilty to grand theft third degree?

    i stop working at a retail store because i got a better job offer. then over a month later a receive a letter from a lawyer's office that represents the store and it said for me to pay them back money that was missing and making a payment. But i n...

    Varinia’s Answer

    The outcome is that after a not guilty plea, the case progresses through discovery, depositions and ultimately trial for the state to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt with legally obtained evidence the charges. You are presumed innocent unless the state can overcome that presumption. Hire a lawyer that knows what they are doing and is aggressive to represent you. The burden lies with the State.

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  • I went to court and the judge did not have my police report so i got another date what will happen if they still dont have it?

    on felony probation for burgulary of an unoccupied dwelling and grand theft i violated with a technical and i just got a new charge of cannabis under 20 grams which is a misdemeanor.

    Varinia’s Answer

    Typically, after arrest, he will have first appearance where the judge will decide if he can bond out or not. Most jurisdiction in Florida, depending on the judge, do not grant bond on a Violation of probation when it involves a new law violation. However, it should not matter that the judge does not have the police report because the mechanism for a violation of probation is a violation of probation affidavit prepared by the new arresting officer or the probation officer. The new violation has to be proved by evidence (ie: The officer testifies to the facts of the possession of cannabis if it was a cop who found the drug on your boyfriend)...it is not proved by a police report, that is inadmissible hearsay.

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  • I have a VOP hearing from grand theft for failure to pay restiution, court date is in three weeks.

    I was arrested for VOP, and got out on ROR. I owed $6,000 in restitution, and was placed on 18 month probation. Last month I was on probation officer said I owed $1,400 dollars so she violated me. I knew this was wrong, but dont have all my receip...

    Varinia’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Since you have already been violated, there is not much you can do to stop that. However, just because you have been violated does not mean that the judge will find you guilty of a violation of probation. Before you can be found guilty of a violation of probation, the state has to prove that you had the ability to pay and did not pay. They have to prove that it was substantial and willful. Sounds like you have already paid a lot of money, so it can be argued not substantial. Also, when the restitution was ordered, the judged needed to make a finding that you had the ability to pay. Without making that initial finding, there also cannot be a finding of willful and substantial violation. What that means is that if you are not found guilty of VOP, then, if there is time left on the probation, you just go back on probation to pay the balance. IF there is not enough time, the unpaid amount can be reduced to a civil judgement and you can get off probation

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  • Can I ask the court to transfer me from probation to a civil lien in Florida?

    I was placed on probation in Sept, 2011 for 10 years with a withhold. Condition of the probation is to pay the victim $29,000 and the probation will terminate upon that payment. Since being placed on probation, we have found that the victim was pa...

    Varinia’s Answer

    It all depends on your ability to pay and the amount of time left on probation. If you are not able to pay the amount ordered, you will have to show what your expenses are and do a motion to modify the probation. If you do not have the ability to pay, and the time for probation ends, then even if they violate you for not paying, the State has to show that it was willful. Not having the ability to pay does not make it willful. By the same token, if restitution was ordered and the victim recovered the sums from another entity (the insurance company) you can also go to court to modify the amount and you will have to show that the victim already got the funds. If you run out of time on probation and are not done paying, the left over amount can be reduced to a civil judgement provided you did not have the ability to pay and are not found guilty of a violation of probation

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  • What happens if i miss a court date in sarasota fl?

    i got a ticket for squatting (tresspassing citation) in sarasota, fl and i missed my court date yesterday. i have a bench warrent for my arrest but the clerk of courts said that i could come down and reschedule my court date. what shoould i do. im...

    Varinia’s Answer

    If there is already a bench warrant, the only way to get that taken off is by the Judge. Which means you have to petition the court to set aside the bench warrant. Usually you need to do this via a motion or via a letter with copy of the letter to the State Attorney. Your charges may not be serious, but your Failure to Appear is, so do not think it is not serious. A failure to appear can bring serious future consequences if you are ever in trouble again, such as a denial of bond or a higher bond. I suggest you retain an attorney to expedite the matter before you are arrested on the bench warrant.

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  • What does Final Probation Revocation Hearing mean?

    I hired a lawyer for my friend for his particular case and he is working with the PO,he received a letter saying he will have his final probation revocation hearing soon,what does that mean? Does that mean there is alredy a beredict or will the...

    Varinia’s Answer

    A probation revocation hearing sounds like someone was on probation and there is a violation for which there needs to be a hearing. In Florida, typically on a violation of probation the person will be arrested and they have to have an arraignment and then the case moves to a hearing. At the hearing, the State has to prove that the probationer violated his or her probation by a preponderance of the evidence, as opposed to beyond a reasonable doubt, as is with a law violation. If the probationer does not admit to the violation of probation, that is how the violation is decided. If the State proves the violation the court can revoke probation and sentence the defendant to jail or prison, depending on for what charge the probationer was on probation. The court can also modify the probation to add additional terms and continue the probationer on probation.

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  • What does the sentecing carry for armed robbery in florida

    just says weapon but has other prior violent charges

    Varinia’s Answer

    If it is armed with a firearm, as opposed to a weapon (knife), then the minimum mandatory is 10 years if the firearm was used, but not discharged. If the firearm was discharged then the minimum mandatory is 20 years. Kill someone while commiting the robbery and the mandatory sentence is life. So, it's important to know what kind of weapon it was.

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  • I recently got charged for underage possesion of alcohol. the officer wrote the wrong date of defense. Can it be dismissed?

    I recently got charged for underage possesion of alcohol. the officer wrote the wrong date of defense. Can it be dismissed?

    Varinia’s Answer

    it would not outright be dismissed. However, if the trial starts and the officer testifies as to the wrong date and after the state closes the case, if it is not corrected, you could and should move for dismissal based on the wrong date. However, it is possible the judge would allow the state to reopen the case to fix the error. That would be up to the discretion of the court. worth the fight.

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  • Can an alleged victim use his/her fifth amendment right in FL state

    Could I as the alleged victim use the fifth amendment right?

    Varinia’s Answer

    Interesting question...if it's a victim...why would the victim incriminate him/herself? Unless, the victim is not really a victim and it's a situation where there is mutual combat or an issue of self-defense. Keep in mind that if the State Attorney issues the "alleged victim" an investigative subpoena, immunity is automatically given to the "witness" and their words cannot be used against them and no evidence derived from their testimony can be used against them. So...be very careful and if there is potential for the "alleged victim" to end up facing charges, it may be best to hire a lawyer to contact the State Attorney and get more information before answering any questions.

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  • POINT SYSTEM USED IN FLORIDA

    What is the point system used in Florida to determin if a ofender is recommended to be sent to the department of correction if convicted? How can I learn more about how it works?

    Varinia’s Answer

    Another useful thing that a lawyer should always do is carefully review with the client the "prior criminal history" alleged in the scoresheet. Sometimes, offenses are included that are not the client's. Also, if it's an out of state prior, be sure that the "crime" is score as what it is in Florida, not the other state. Sometimes, this can lower the score and save the client from going to prison if the points get below 44.

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