If you or a loved one is facing prosecution for a probation violation, it is critical to consult with an experienced Miami probation violation attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected. You need the counsel of a Miami lawyer who is experienced in probation violations to guide you through the process and maximize your chances of resolving your case with a favorable outcome.
Probation Violations & Community Control Violations
Probation violations and community control violations are particularly serious offenses for several important reasons. First, when someone is charged with a violation of probation, the only relevant issue is whether the person violated a general or special condition imposed by the judge at sentencing. It is no longer important whether the person committed the underlying crime, has a defense to the underlying crime or took a plea out of convenience.
Florida Statutes Chapter 948 addresses all aspects of probation, including probation violations.
Substantive or Technical Violation?
A community control or probation violation can begin in a number of different ways. According to Florida law, a probation officer—or any police officer who is aware that a person is on probation or community control—can arrest the person without a warrant if they have reasonable grounds to believe the person violated his or her probation or community control in a material respect. This is usually known as a “substantive” violation. (This does not include “technical” violations, such as failure to complete community service hours, failure to make restitution payments, failure to attend court-ordered classes, testing positive for drugs, and violating a curfew). Technical violations of probation (an alleged violation of supervision that isn’t based on a new criminal case) usually begin with the probation officer filing an affidavit with the court containing the alleged violation. The judge then decides whether to issue an arrest warrant for the person or orders them appear before the court to answer to the alleged violation.
Is There a Right to Bail in Probation and Community Control Violations?
Unlike the situation when a person is arrested for allegedly committing a new crime, the question whether a defendant may be granted bail while a violation proceeding is pending is at the discretion of the court. This is not an issue when the person admits to the violation. Then, the judge can immediately enter an order revoking, modifying, or continuing the probation or community control. But if the person does not admit to the violation then it is generally up to the court whether to take the person into custody or release them with or without bail until the next hearing. But it is important to know that there are exceptions. In cases involving sexual offenders, for example, the judge is required to conduct a hearing and make a finding that the defendant’s release would not pose a danger to the public before releasing them. Also, Florida law prevents a person designated a “violent felony offender of special concern” from being released while their violation of probation or community control charges are pending.
What is the Burden of Proof in a Violation Hearing?
Another distinguishing factor of a probation violation is that the judge is the trier of fact—not a jury of one’s peers. Additionally, the prosecutor only has to prove that somebody violated their probation or community control by a preponderance of the evidence. The court can revoke probation or community control if it finds that the greater weight of the evidence reveals a willful and substantial violation of one or more conditions. This is in contrast to the higher standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt used in criminal cases. Also, unlike a trial in a criminal case, hearsay evidence is admissible in a violation hearing (although it can’t provide the only basis for the revocation). To put it bluntly, if you’re charged with violating probation or community control, the cards are stacked against you. That’s why it’s so important for a person charged with a violation of probation or community control retain an experienced and knowledgeable Miami probation violations lawyer.
You can read more about the Florida procedure for probation violations here.
What is the Punishment for Violation of Probation?
Often times, a judge will place a person with little or no prior criminal record on probation or community control instead of sentencing them to jail or prison. Most of the time, this person will receive what is called a “withhold of adjudication.” What this means basically is that the person has not received a felony conviction. If the defendant successfully completes the term of probation or community control they will not become a convicted felon usually not have to serve any time. But if the court finds that a person either failed to comply with the terms of probation or community control, or otherwise violated them, the judge can revoke the defendant’s probation, convict them, and sentence them to jail or prison.
WE HAVE SUCCESSFULLY DEFENDED HUNDREDS OF PROBATION VIOLATIONS
Additionally, the person is facing the same punishment he or she could have received originally when they were accused of the crime. For example, if someone pled no contest to a third-degree felony like grand theft and is charged with a violation of probation, they would face up to five years in state prison. If someone was sentenced to probation originally on a first-degree misdemeanor case like petit theft or domestic violence, for example, they would face up to a year in jail.
|Crime on Probation||Violation Max Punishment|
|2nd Degree Misdemeanor||60 days in jail|
|1st Degree Misdemeanor||1 year in jail|
|3rd Degree Felony||5 years in prison|
|2nd Degree Felony||15 years in prison|
|1st Degree Felony||30 years in prison|
|Life Felony||Life in prison|
|Capital Felony||Not applicable|
Additional Probation Resources
Miami Circuit Office of Department of Corrections – General information about the Miami Circuit Office as well as a list of probation offices within the circuit.
United States Probation Office (Miami) – Address and contact information for the main office of U.S. Probation with a list officers and phone numbers.
Contact an Experienced Miami Probation Violation Attorney
Over the years, we have represented hundreds of clients in probation violations and community control violations. There is a good chance that we have dealt with your type of case and have represented clients who shared similar needs and concerns that you may have. Feel free to browse through the results section of our site for a representative sample of some of our past cases, and the results we have achieved for our clients.
By taking the immediate action of hiring an experienced Miami probation violation attorney to defend yourself, you are minimizing the chances that your criminal case will have lasting consequences for your career, personal life, and reputation. CALL US NOW for a CONFIDENTIAL CONSULTATION at securely encrypted intake form. The additional details you provide will greatly assist us in responding to your inquiry., or simply take a moment to fill out our
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ALWAYS INVESTIGATE AN ATTORNEY’S QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE BEFORE MAKING A DECISION ON HIRING A LAWYER FOR A PROBATION VIOLATION