In many Florida criminal cases, especially first offenses and non-violent crimes (i.e. theft, drug and alcohol etc.), , a defendant many avoid spending time in jail by receiving a sentence of probation, which involves supervision by the State. Probation is similar to parole, which is State supervision of a person who has served time and been released from prison; probation is in lieu of prison time, whereas parole is in addition to it. Both require periodic meetings with an assigned probation or parole officer to discuss the probationer or parolee’s situation and ensure that terms are being complied with. However, if you fail to meet probationary standards or are accused of violating probation, there can be serious consequences. Don’t hesitate to talk to a Tampa probation violation attorney if you are being accused of not meeting probation standards.
Conditions of Probation
A person on probation generally needs to remain within the jurisdiction, refrain from committing another crime or associating with known criminals, meet with the probation office on a regular basis, submit to random alcohol and drug testing, and hold a job. Other conditions may also be imposed by the court, custom tailored to the individual’s circumstances, such as performing community service, paying restitution to victims, and working toward a high school diploma. Fees are usually assessed to help cover the cost of the probation.
This system helps relieve overcrowding of prisons and allows you to remain in the community after being convicted of a crime; but it is not a free pass. Probation is a serious matter with strict rules that you must comply with. Failure to do so could result in a Violation of Probation, which will often result in your going to jail.
Common Probation Violations
Some common violations include:
- Failing to report for a meeting with your probation officer
- Failing a random drug test
- Committing a crime while on probation
Lower Standard of Proof Required for Probation Violations
If you’ve missed a meeting with your probation officer or have been found to be in violation of another of the terms of your probation, you will usually be held in jail without bond until your hearing date. You will not have the right to a jury trial for a probation violation, but will have a hearing before a judge. The standard of proof is lower than for a typical criminal offense, and the prosecutor will only need to show that it was likely that you did commit a violation. Sometimes a judge is quick to accept the word of a probation officer without looking further into the matter, so it is important to have a legal professional to help you present your case.
A probation violation is a serious offense that comes with a grave risk of jail time. This is true even for a relatively minor violation. So it is especially important that you seek out the best legal representation available and hire a seasoned Tampa probation violation attorney with experience in representing clients accused of VOP.
A Lawyer’s Experience and Respect in the Courts Work to a Client’s Benefit
In Tampa, Florida, Hanlon Law has a long record of success in helping his clients avoid going to prison for probation violations. Will Hanlon has more than 20 years of experience as a Florida defense attorney and understands how the state’s criminal justice system works. He has earned the respect of prosecutors and judges, and knows how to present your case in such a way as to obtain a favorable outcome in many cases. Will understands that things happen, which may be beyond your control, to interfere with your ability to be in perfect compliance with the conditions of your probation, and he will fight aggressively and persuasively for you to retain your freedom.
Get Experienced Legal Help Early On
Freedom is a precious thing, and well worth fighting for; don’t allow an oversight, a mistake, or a misunderstanding regarding your probation deprive you of it. If your probation officer is talking violation, give Will Hanlon a call. Having Will on your side can make the difference between your freedom and years behind bars. Call him immediately if your probation officer has indicated that you are in violation of one of the terms of your probation. Let him start working on your matter right from the start, to improve the odds that you will not have to serve time.