The Defense Group

THE DEFENSE GROUP

CENTRAL FLORIDA'S
CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS

FREE CRIMINAL DEFENSE CONSULTING

 

(407) 831-1956
(352) 742-9090


 VIOLATION OF PROBATION

Violation of ProbationIf you believe your probation officer is going to say that you violated your felony or misdemeanor probation, then contact an attorney at The Defense Group right away! We are available by phone 24/7/365 to assist you.

The attorneys in our office focus exclusively on criminal defense. A substantial portion of our practice is devoted to probation violation cases. We fight for our clients charged with violation of probation cases throughout Central Florida. We represent clients in VOP cases for misdemeanors, felonies, and DUI cases throughout Central Florida. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call today to speak with an attorney about your felony, misdemeanor DUI case for violation of probation. Call today! We can help!!


Legal Definition of "Probation" under Florida Law
The term "Violation of Probation" is often abbreviated as "VOP." Florida law provides for many different types of probation that all involve some level of supervision with a probation officer.


Avoiding the Typical Result in a VOP Case
There is a popular misconception, even among attorneys, that VOPs are a lost cause. This is because the standard roof required of the prosecutors is so much lower than in anew criminal case. After the probation officer submits the paperwork for the violation of probation ("VOP"), the judge will typically sign a warrant for your arrest. The arrest warrant usually has a "no bond" provision. With a "no bond" provision on the VOP warrant, you cannot bond out of jail. In other words, you will sit in jail until your case is resolved. In some cases, a person arrested on a VOP warrant will sit in jail for weeks or months until the case is resolved. Depending on the circumstances of the original offense and the claim f violation, the Court will sometimes entertain a motion to set bond during the pendency of the VOP proceedings.

If you learn that your Probation Officer has requested a warrant for your arrest, you should first contact an attorney with The Defense Group and then turn yourself in to your probation officer or the police. Failing to report to your probation officer or absconding only makes the matter worse by causing additional grounds for the violation. If the court knows that you failed to report or absconded, the court may be less inclined to give you another chance at successfully completing your probation when you are eventually picked up on the warrant and brought before the judge. Turning yourself in shows that you are not a flight risk and increases the chances of getting a bond.

You never benefit from hiding from your warrant once you learn of the violation. Some VOP cases involve a warrantless arrest for violation of probation and community control. This detention on the violation of probation is often called the "COP VOP" because a law enforcement instead of the probation officer triggered the violation through a probable cause affidavit. Each county has procedures for an arrest without a warrant because of a VOP, usually involving a new arrest.


What Attorneys Can Do in Probation Violation Cases in Central Florida
If you learn that your Probation Officer intends to file but before the VOP affidavit is submitted to the judge, your attorney may be able to contact your probation officer on your behalf and request additional time to allow you to come into compliance with the terms of your probation. The probation officers have wide discretion in these matters. Your attorney might also be able to help you come into compliance faster and avoid the violation entirely. If the violation is based on a monetary issue (failure to pay something ordered by the court) prompt payment may have the effect of getting the VOP dismissed.

An attorney can arrange for you to turn yourself in on the violation of probation warrant at the jail, and then represent you at your first appearance hearing the next morning.

If you have a serious medical condition that requires ongoing treatment, your attorney may be able to schedule an emergency bond hearing. This may also give you the best chance at having your case resolved quickly. If your case can not be resolved in a favorable manner, your attorney can request that the court set a reasonable bond so that you can be released from custody to come into compliance with any outstanding terms before your next court date. In many cases, an attorney can help get you back in front of the judge in days instead of weeks.
Even if the court is not inclined to grant bond, the court may be inclined to resolve the case on the days set for the hearing. The best result might be dismissing the VOP affidavit or reinstating the probation to give you another chance to complete the special conditions of probation.
Contact an attorney at The Defense Group at 407-831-1956 – or- 352-742-9090 today to get experienced advice on resolving your probation violation case. We can help!!

The Definition of Technical Violations and Substantive Probation Violations
Violations of probation can be divided into two categories:

  • technical violations and
  • substantive violations.
  • The term "technical violation" is defined as a violation of a term or condition of the probation that does not involve an allegation that you were arrested or committed a new law violation. Technical violations of probation can include failing to pay restitution, fines or court costs, failing to complete community service, failing a urine test, or failing to meet with your probation officer.
  • The term "substantive violation" is defined to include any new arrest on a law violation that occurred after you were put on probation including any felony or a misdemeanor criminal offense. In some cases, the probationer will be arrested on a warrant for a crime that allegedly occurred before the person was put on probation which should not be counted as a violation of probation. 

The Circuit and County Courts throughout the State of Florida, each have different policies and procedures for handling accusations of violation of probation. The attorneys at The Defense Group can help navigate the procedural obstacle course to resolve your case as quickly and successfully as possible. Call today. We can Help!!
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Procedures in Violation of Probation Hearings in Florida
There is no jury trial in a violation of probation case. The matter is heard by the judge as both the finder of aw and the finder of fact. This is in part, because you have already been convicted of the underlying offense for which you were placed on probation. The burden of proof is merely a preponderance of the evidence (not the higher "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" standard). In fact, the courts have said that the evidence required is only enough to “satisfy the conscience of the court” that you committed the violation. Consequently, prosecutors may have a much easier time winning a violation of probation hearing then winning a case during a jury trial. In fact, if a new crime is the reason for your VOP, it is possible to go to trial on the new charge and have the jury find you not guilty, and still have the judge fid that you violated your probation on the lower standard that he gets to apply to your VOP.

If you are found to be in violation of your probation, either after a hearing or after entering an "admission," the court can sentence you to any sentence that could have originally been imposed, which means that you can receive the statutory maximum sentence for that particular offense or offenses. For example, on a third-degree felony, such as possession of a controlled substance, you could receive five (5) years in Florida State Prison for violating your probation, even if the violation was merely for a technical violation.

The court, however, has other options besides prison. For example, the court can modify your probation to lengthen the term of probation or to add provisions for a more intensive drug treatment program or additional community service hours.


Defenses to Violation of Probation Allegations in Central Florida
To sustain a finding of a VOP, the Court must find that the violation was both “willful” and “material” or “substantial.” An experienced lawyer can help you assert important defenses during the Violation of Probation Hearing. During the hearing, the court is required to review each allegation of violation on a case-by-case basis to determine under the particular facts and circumstances of the case, whether a particular violation is willful and substantial by the greater weight of the evidence. The evidence comes in the form of documents admitted into the record and testimony from witnesses that appear in court. There must be some direct evidence so a VOP cannot be sustained on circumstantial evidence alone.

If the individual makes reasonable efforts to comply with the conditions of probation, but fails to comply because of some factor out of the individual's control such as a medical emergency or mental illness, then the violation of probation in Florida is not willful or substantial. Likewise, the violation of probation might not be willful if the individual was told or otherwise lead to believe that his probation was over and that he was no longer required to report.

The failure to submit one monthly report or to submit the report late may not be substantial when the individual is otherwise in compliance with the terms of his probation. A curfew violation might not be a substantial violation of probation if the individual was not at his residence at the required time due to unexpected car trouble or other circumstance out of his control.
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Different Types of Probation Violations
There are many ways to commit a violation of probation. They include:

  • failing to report to the Probation Officer for monthly meetings;
  • failing to pay Court Costs, Fines, Restitution or Cost of Supervision;
  • not being truthful to the Probation Officer;
  • not completing the minimum number of community service hours required in a particular month;
  • not following the instructions of the Probation Officer;
  • moving from an approved residence without permission;
  • changing employment without notifying the Probation Officer;
  • failure to comply with the Terms of Curfew;
  • leaving the county without permission from the Probation Officer;
  • failure to successfully complete a counseling program such as "Anger Management" or the "Batterer's Intervention Program";
  • violation for getting arrested on a new misdemeanor offense;
  • violation of a county ordinance;
  • substantive violation for a new felony arrest.

The most serious VOP cases involve a new felony arrest. In most counties, if the State Attorney's Offices formally files the new charges, then the defendant will answer the violation of probation charges before the felony division in which the defendant was originally sentenced.
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Consequences of Being Found in Violation of Probation
The court usually has many different options if the probationer is found to be in violation. Those options include:

  • WORSE CASE: The Court can revoke and terminate the probation, adjudicate you guilty of the underlying offense (enter a conviction) and impose a sentence of jail or prison time which can be up to the statutory maximum for the offense, which was the maximum punishment that you could have received at sentencing if you had not been sentenced to probation.
  • BEST CASE: The court can dismiss the allegation of violation of probation.
  • OTHER OPTIONS: The Court can find you in violation of probation, extend the time that you are on probation, and impose additional special conditions, such as additional community service, counseling, residential drug program with follow-up treatment.

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Finding a VOP Lawyer in Central Florida
The attorneys at The Defense Group are ready to assist you with your Violation of Probation case. Whether the underlying offense was DUI, domestic battery, or other misdemeanor or felony charge, call us to discuss the case.
We will work to you get back in front of the court quickly after the VOP warrant is served, although the most advantageous time to hire a probation revocation attorney is before the affidavit of violation is even completed by the probation officer.
MOTIONS AFTER YOU ARE ON PROBATION:
We also represent clients to modify or terminate their probation or community control. Often a court will entertain a motion for early termination of your probation you have served half of the terms and have completed all the probation requirements such as schools, fines, restitution, or community service hours. You may also ask for some of the conditions of probation to be changed, such as a requirement that you wear a GPS monitoring unit, have no contact with a victim, reside in a certain county, etc.

Call us today to discuss your case at 407-831-1956 -or-  352-742-9090. We can help!!

 


 
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