Is it up to the probation officer's discretion to violate me if I have not completed DUI school on time?

Asked almost 4 years ago - Tampa, FL

I have completed all other requirements for DUI probation including paying the fines, doing community service, etc.

This DUI offense is in Florida. My P.O. has never discussed the due dates with me. I discovered that I may have committed a violation of probation by looking over my paper work. And yes as far as I can tell my P.O likes me.

What should I do about not finishing DUI school so I don’t face a DUI probation violation in Tampa?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. John P. Yetter

    Contributor Level 15

    Answered . All violations, however technical in nature, can subject you to facing resentencing under the guidelines of the original DUI charge as all violations equally violate the sentence. You may have a hearing to determine if you violated the sentence in Florida, and the state must prove the violation was willful on the defendant’s part. This proof is not required to be beyond a reasonable doubt, as is a trial, because the defendant carries no presumption of innocence. At this hearing the proof must be by a preponderance of the evidence only (essentially that it is more likely than not the violation occurred willfully).

    If the determination is made at hearing or after admission the defendant violated the sentence, the defendant is resentenced. This is where differences in violations come into play. For instance, commission of the same crime again is treated more harshly than say, missing a night of curfew. This is a generalization but it is a good one. Everyone should note that there is no set guideline in the law about the value of any given violation.

    This sentencing does open you up to getting the maximum, but the truth is that the majority of violations I have handled over the years result in a continuation of probation and some punishment (such as more jail or public service) or additional services (like additional counseling or drug testing). Every case is different, just like each violation is different, but few people are sentenced to the maximum penalties for an offense after a single or first violation.

    It is the overall exposure which makes me urge people to seek counsel for violations. It should be treated as carefully if not more than the original charges in court. You have the very right to counsel at the violation hearing and sentencing you did prior to trial or plea on the case, and you should take advantage of this right.

  2. Daniel Perez Jr.

    Contributor Level 9

    Answered . No, the probation officer WILL violate you if you do not complete the DUI SCHOOL. Best thing to do is to immediately sign up for the DUI school and show proof of it to the PO.

    If she does violate you, you will need it to show the judge in Florida. Do not assume that you will not have to complete this. The DUI school was a Court ordered Sanction and the judge will not like the fact you ignored his/her order.

  3. Lacy Michelle Fields

    Contributor Level 12

    Answered . This varies state by state. I can only speak for Missouri, but here you can be violated by the PO, the prosecutor or the judge.
    If the prosecutor notices that you have not complied with the conditions of probation, he/she can motion for suspension of probation and ask that you appear and show cause why your probation should not be revoked. If the judge notices, he/she can order a show cause.
    If your PO wants to violate you -- for any reason at all -- he/she can issue a probation violation "hold." The hold will essentially create a warrant for your arrest and you can be picked up and held in jail. Next the PO writes a report with his/her recommendation of whether to continue you on probation or revoke you. This report goes to the judge who, if he/she hasn't already, will issue a formal warrant for your arrest so the jail can continue to hold you. Then you will be set on a probation revocation docket.
    The point is that each step can take several weeks. I've seen people sit in jail for months waiting for their hearing, only to find out the PO recommends keeping them on probation. Therefore this power held by the POs can be a powerful tool to get you to straighten up.
    In sum: 1) It is always good if your PO likes you, and 2) if you can get right with your PO, you should! Of course, I can only speak for Missouri.

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