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What is Probation?

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Probation is a form of community supervision that is assigned by the court instead of incarceration. In most cases, probation is assigned to non-violent, first-time offenders so they can avoid going to jail. Individuals on probation must follow specific rules and regulations to avoid penalties or the revocation of probation.

While the conditions of probation vary depending on your specific circumstances, standard conditions of probation include the following:

  • Reporting to a probation officer on a regular basis

  • Allowing the probation officer to visit at work, home, or school

  • Staying employed throughout the entirety of probation

  • Submitting to random drug and alcohol testing

  • Avoiding other known criminals

  • Obeying all laws

  • Not carrying or operating a firearm or other weapons

The court may also set other terms. It is essential that you understand the terms of your probation to avoid accidental violations.

What Types of Probation Are There?

In Florida, there are five major types of probation you may be assigned. Those probation types include:

  • Standard probation: An individual reports regularly to a probation officer and follows all standard terms of probation.

  • Administrative probation: The individual does not have to report to a probation officer, and the terms are more lenient.

  • Drug offender probation: An individual must complete a drug or alcohol program.

  • Sex offender probation: An individual must complete a sex offender treatment program.

  • Community control: Also called house arrest, an individual is under constant supervision.

What is a Probation Violation?

Probation violations occur when you disobey any of the conditions set by the court. A probation violation can happen at any point, from the day your probation begins up until the end date. Because some probation terms can be confusing or complicated, it is recommended that you consult with a defense attorney to fully understand the rules and regulations you must follow.

Probation violations will differ depending on the conditions you must follow; however, there are some common violations our office sees often. Those violations include:

  • Failing to notify your probation officer of travel plans

  • Failing to pay restitution

  • Moving out of the area listed on court documents

  • Failing to take a drug or alcohol test

  • Getting a positive result on a drug or alcohol test

  • Failing to complete required drug or alcohol programs

  • Failing to meet with your probation officer

  • Getting arrested for another crime

If your probation officer believes you have committed a violation, they will submit an affidavit to the court with detailed information about your suspected violation. A judge will review this document and then determine whether a violation has occurred. If it has, the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest.

What Are the Penalties for Violating Probation?

If a judge believes you have violated your probation, they will set a date for a violation of probation (VOP) hearing. VOP hearings do not have the same precedences as a normal trial in court. For instance, the state does not have to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

This means that any evidence submitted can be of a much lower standard and could even include hearsay. If you are facing a VOP hearing, it is essential to hire a defense attorney to represent you in court.

Once the hearing is complete, the judge will make a ruling. They will either reinstate the probation, modify your probation, or revoke your probation. If a judge chooses to modify your probation, they will likely set new, stricter rules and regulations.

If your probation is revoked, you will be sent to jail. However, your sentence cannot exceed the maximum penalty for your original offense. A judge may also enact further penalties, like requiring you to pay more in restitution.

How Can a Defense Attorney Help Me?

Violating the terms of your probation can come with severe consequences, including fines and jail time. Understanding the terms of your probation is essential to avoid any accidental violations. If you are facing a VOP hearing or are worried you may have violated probation, reach out to our office today.

Our team will review the terms of your probation and represent you in court if needed to defend your rights. Contact The Defense Group today at 407-743-8430 for more information.

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