Can my probation officer violate my probation if I don't give her a unrestricted key access card to my apartment building?

Asked 11 months ago - Boca Raton, FL

Hello. I am on probation for a felony dui. I am currently subletting from a friend at a apartment building that requires an access key to enter the building. In the legal lease, only one card is allowed per apartment and it is a legal violation to give this card to a non-resident. I have given her a direct code to my building to get in that leads through my cell phone, also a direct code to the door man who is there 24 hours. I even talked to her supervisor and he said there should be no problem with her just having the code. I have no way of producing this item for her. I feel like she is trying everything she can to violate me when I have completed everything ive had to do in a short amount of time. I just owe some money left on my fines. Can she violate me for this?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Michael Adam Haber

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    7

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . I will address the fine issue in a moment. As for the access card, you no more have to provide that than you do a key to your front door. When you accept probation you waive much of your 4th Amendment protections from unreasonable searches and seizures. If you have a curfew then you do have to be home when you are supposed to be home and, regardless, you do have to admit your PO into your residence when s/he asks, but you do not have to give your PO a key to your home (or an access card to enter the building).

    That said, remember that your PO holds the keys to your freedom in her/his hands. You should be uber-respevctful, courteous, accommodating and otherwise cooperative and pleasant at all times. Never, ever, argue with your PO. "Yes" her/him to deathg and then call your lawyer ASAP - your lawyer can bring the matter to the Judge's attention in an appropriate manner, if it is appropriate to do so (if not then your lawyer will straighten you out him/herself).

    As for the monetary violation issue: There is no such thing as a "debtor's prison" in the US (or in FL). If monetary conditions are all that are outstanding then the State can try to violate you, but in order for the Judge to do so s/he will first have to determine that you "willfully and substantially" failed to comply with the terms and conditions of your probation.

    "Willfulness" requires some degree of choice. If you have money and choose to spend it on things other than your Court Ordered obligations then you can be punished; but if you truly do not, and if the State cannot prove that you made such a choice, then you cannot be jailed. The Court can either extend your probation (assuming that there remains statutorily permissible time for such an extension), convert your balance to either a criminal order (in the case of restitution) or community service hours (in the case of monies other than restitution) or s/he may be able to waive the costs / fees / fines and simply terminate your probation (successfully or unsuccessfully, as s/he sees fit).

    My advise to you is to keep accurate records of your finances (income and expenses) and not to sweat it (unless, of course, you are willfully not paying).

    Best of luck!

    First, second and third: No attorney-client relationship exists by virtue of any Q&A with Michael A. Haber, Esq.... more
  2. Brett Jacob Szematowicz

    Contributor Level 11

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . In order to be convicted of a violation of your probation, your violation must be willful and substantial.

    The standard conditions of probation are found in the Florida State. The portion that applies to you is Florida Statute 948.03(1)(b) states you must "permit [probation officer's] to visit him or her and his or her home or elsewhere."

    It appears to me that you have taken all necessary and reasonable steps for your probation officer to visit you. If you do not have the ability to get the officer unfettered access through a key card, then I would be amazed if any violation would hold up in court.

    First, it does not seem the violation would be substantial since the officer can visit you through a building code and/or door man. Second, it would not be willful because you have given the officer every means available to you to come check on you.

    That being said, the officer could violate, regardless of the merits. Should that happen, you would want to get a lawyer to help you out. Hopefully it doesn't come to that.

    Good luck to you.

    Any answer given is for general reference and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. For a more... more
  3. Steven Douglas Knittle

    Pro

    Contributor Level 15

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Your PO can only file an affidavit requesting a warrant be issued for what she/he perceives as a violation of probation. The Judge determines whether or not you actually violated your probation. The problem is you may have to sit in jail until the Judge hears the case. You should make a copy of the lease and send it to your PO with a short letter explaining that you cannot give her a card and explaining how she can otherwise gain access to you. If she already has an attitude towards you I would copy the note and lease to her supervisor. You should continue paying what you can, even if it is not the amount ordered each month as the burden is on the state to show you have the ability to pay and some effort is much better than none at all.

  4. Michael L Morgan

    Contributor Level 11

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You should not be required to provide the key card to your building. Since it is a violation of the lease to do so and you have provided an alternative reasonable method for her to access you at home, it is unlikely that a judge would find you in violation of probation. That being said, I would suggest that you send her a letter (everything should be in writing) outlining the steps that you have taken to comply with her request. I would also send a copy to her supervisor and note in the letter that you have discussed the matter with the supervisor and he or him go to sleep she has agreed that your action is reasonable. Do not shirk your obligation to pay your costs of probation and fines. It is important than that you pay if at all possible, and if not, that you have a very good reason for not doing so, e.g. lost your job.

Related Topics

DUI: An overview

The definition, charges, and penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) vary by state and depend on a number of factors.

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.

 

Ask now

28,199 answers this week

3,078 attorneys answering

Ask a Lawyer

Get answers from top-rated lawyers.

  • It's FREE
  • It's easy
  • It's anonymous

28,199 answers this week

3,078 attorneys answering