How to Defend a Violation of Probation Charge in Florida
Technical ViolationsA technical violation is anything besides a new law violation i.e. a new arrest. Remember the State must prove you wilfully violated your probation so if it was a technical violation for not paying costs or fines in a timely manner or failing to inform your probation officer when you change residences you may very well have a great defense. The state will have to prove that you had the ability to pay for your costs or fines which is extremely difficult to prove. Depending on the type of violation the State will have to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that you willfully violated your probation.
New Law ViolationsA new law violation can be described as one who is on probation who is arrested for committing a new crime. This can have very serious consequences. I absolutely recommend to anyone on probation not to plead guilty to the new charge even if the new charge is as minor as Driving on A suspended license. The reason is that any conviction will enable the State to prove the violation of probation without any further proof. All they will have to do is introduce a certified copy of that conviction and they will be able to prove the new law violation. You need to let your attorney know if you are on probation so they can properly advise you with regard to the violation of probation.
Does the Court have Jurisdiction?1. Does the court have jurisdiction. This means was the warrant signed prior to the end of your probationary period. Keep in mind on a misdemeanor of the first degree the state can only place you on probation for up to 1 year. For example if you were arrested for a misdemeanor and served some jail time say 10 days. The State must have the warrant signed prior to the 355th day because you have to take the 10 days off you served in jail. Secondly, in violation of probation cases pre-1998 the State must not only prove that the warrant was signed in a timely manner they must also prove that it was delivered to the sheriff for execution. If they cannot prove when delivery was made to the sheriff then the violation of probation will be dismissed.
Can they prove the Violation?The State must prove that you not only willfully violated your probation but they must also prove you were properly explained the conditions of your probation. In addition, the State must have more than hearsay alone to prove the violation. For example someone else's word that you took drugs would be insufficient to prove the violation.
The process1. Once the Judge signs a warrant it is likely you will be arrested for the violation of probation and if it is a felony you will not be able to bond out. In fact the Judge who signed the warrant may order that you be held until you appear in front of the Judge issuing the warrant. So what do you do?
2. Get an attorney immediately upon being notified of your impending violation. The Attorney can set up a bond reduction hearing soon after your arrest so you are not waiting in jail for weeks or months.
3. If you are released from jail continue reporting and doing what was expected of you prior to the violation, just because you violated does not mean your chances of being placed back on probation are over. In fact I would recommend you complete extra work i.e. if you were ordered to do 50 community service hours do 100.
4. Make sure you appear in court.
5. Make sure you meet with your attorney to explain your side of the Story so he or she can develop your defense.
ConclusionViolating your probation can be very serious it can result in significant jail time or even prison if you were on probation for a felony. The best piece of advice I can give is seek legal representation and don't make matters worse. Just because you have been alleged to have violated your probation things can get worse if you commit other violations.