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 receipts. Looking at public search, my court date is in 3 weeks, and says my fines are $620. I cannot pay this in one lump sum, but would it be better to pay some off before I see the judge, or wait for the hearing to see what the judge recommends?
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
Your VOP is what is known as a "technical violation" which you can place into context by contrasting it with what is known as a "substantive violation" (of the terms of your probation, that is - for example, the alleged commission of an offense while on probation). One of the defenses available to you with respect to an alleged technical violation of this nature is the lack of the present ability to make the agreed upon payments (extending of course to the relevant time period at issue - in other words, if it is alleged that over the past six months, for example, you have failed to make payments as required then you would need to demonstrate that you were unable to make those payments because you lacked the then-present ability to pay during the entirety of the time period at issue). At the moment, I have knowledge of only those facts regarding this matter which you have set forth in your question. Even if I was already aware, right now, of all of the facts and circumstances which might be possible for you to convey to an attorney that have bearing on your situation, neither I nor any other attorney could or would tell you that you should not pay monies owed pursuant to an existing Court Order, if you had the funds available to you and they were not needed for the necessities of life (e.g. your rent; electricity; food; and so on). The converse would also be true. Once again, I will suggest, as is my habit and practice whether here on-line, or in an office building's hallway, that you contact three local practitioners well-qualified in the area of criminal defense; determine with whom you feel the most comfortable; and appear before the court with an attorney, as there are technical aspects of probationary sentences, and the specific terms of same, of which you may not be aware, but which he or she will be. Many attorneys will be willing to arrange payment plans with you and if you are concerned that the court will view the hiring of an attorney as an avoidance of your obligations, that would be inappropriate and therefore unlikely. I have my office in Hallandale, and, like yourself, live in Florida. If you would like, I will be happy to offer you a free initial consultation, scheduled either through AVVO, or by you personally contacting me at (305) 972-5720. I maintain that you should speak with three practitioners as it is the most likely means by which to assure yourself that when the time for your court appearance arrives you have established an attorney-client relationship with which you are comfortable. Best of luck to you. Sincerely, David B. Dohner, Esq.
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Definitely try to pay some of the balance off before you go to court. This will show the Judge that you are making an effort and he or she will appreciate that and likely result in a better outcome
This is not to be considered legal advice nor does an attorney-client relationship exist.
Traditionally, the PO should not violate you for failure to pay your court fines / restitution. Its a technical violation so the state has to prove a substantial and willful violation. They have to prove that you had the ability to pay all the court costs and restitution, proof of income, and that you willfully did not pay because you didnt feel like it. hope this helps.
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