Under Florida law, violating one’s criminal probation can come with very serious penalties and consequences. It is also important to note that in probation violation cases, the State—or the prosecution—has a much lower burden of proof than in other criminal cases, and there are fewer procedural hurdles and constitutional restrictions to overcome in a violation of probation case.
If you have been charged with violating your criminal probation, you need an experienced St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney representing you every step of the way.
Definition of Probation Under Florida Law
Under the Florida criminal statutes, probation is defined as a type of community supervision that requires offenders to maintain contact with certain individuals while their case is pending. These individuals may include the following:
- Probation officers
- Community supervision officers
Moreover, in order for a person’s probation to remain in good standing, she must abide by all the terms and conditions provided in the court’s probation order.
Proving a Probation Violation
The state—or the prosecution—has the burden of proving that a defendant violated his probation. The burden of proof in a probation violation case is much lower than in other criminal cases. Basically, the prosecution only needs to prove the following:
- That the violation was willful; and
- That the violation was substantial in nature.
If the defendant is found to have willfully and substantially violated a probation order, the court could revoke the defendant’s probation status. Florida law gives courts wide discretion in determining whether or not a defendant violated probation. Some more common probation violations include the following:
- Failing to report to a probation officer or missing appointments
- Failing to perform required community service
- Committing a new criminal offense during the probationary period
- Failing to complete a court-ordered drug rehabilitation program
- Testing positive for drugs
- Failing to pay financial obligations
If a defendant violates probation in Florida, the defendant could be sentenced by up to—but not in excess of—the state statutory maximum penalty for the underlying criminal offense.
Contact a St. Petersburg, Florida Criminal Defense Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case
If you have been charged with a probation violation in the State of Florida, a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense lawyer can help safeguard all your legal rights while your case is pending. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a St. Petersburg, Florida criminal defense lawyer, please call Khonsari Law Group at (727) 269-5300 or contact us online.