On July 20th of this year, one of the most noted parole hearings in recent memory resulted in former NFL-player and actor O.J. Simpson winning his case for freedom. O.J., who was convicted of armed robbery, kidnapping, and assault with a deadly weapon, served the minimum amount of his 33-year sentence and could be released as early as October 2017.
While people who are sentenced to prison in many states can be paroled, parole was largely abolished in Florida in 1983. Since then, only offenders who were sentenced prior to 1983 or who have committed certain offenses are eligible for parole consideration. For those who are still granted parole, they will be required to abide by many conditions and may be returned to prison if they violate those conditions.
Many criminal defendants never see the inside of a jail or a prison, however, as they are alternatively sentenced to probation. Probation is basically a second chance to show you are a law-abiding citizen who can avoid breaking laws and getting into trouble. There are standard probation requirements, but probation typically has “charge specific” requirements meant to reinforce good behavior and deter delinquent behavior. Probation terms are very strict, and if there is even a slight violation of the terms of the conditional release, it can mean automatic time in jail.
Probation is really the justice system giving a person the opportunity to prove themselves worthy of staying out of jail. As such, probation is more a privilege rather than a right, which is why violations are taken very seriously by the court.
Unlike the original court hearing, a probation violation hearing has a much lower standard of proof, which means that the chances of going to jail after a violation are much higher. This is why it is so important to obtain legal representation before any violation hearing. Below are some statistics related to the probation population in the United States:
- Approximately 3.94 million people were on parole in 2012, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
- During 2012, over 4 million people were moved off probation.
- On average in 2014, 5% of people on probation were eventually incarcerated either for parole violations or new violations.
If you are on probation or parole and have questions or concerns about your status, please do not hesitate to contact the Khonsari Law Group for help. Potential probation violations should be taken very seriously because of the low burden of proof and the high risk of the consequence of jail time.
Call Us Today to Speak with a St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Lawyer Don’t put your future in jeopardy! Know your rights and protect yourself by contacting the Khonsari Law Group. Please call our experienced attorneys at (727) 269-5300 for your free consultation with a St. Petersburg Criminal Defense lawyer.