If you have been found guilty of a crime in the State of Florida, a judge may choose to sentence you to probation instead of jail time. The primary purpose of probation is to allow criminal defendants time to rehabilitate themselves.
Probation is often significantly preferable to incarceration and comes with various conditions, depending on the nature of the charge. For example, you may be required to complete community service or to meet with a probation officer a certain number of times per month.
Probation is not a right under the law – rather, it is a privilege. Therefore, if you fail to abide by the conditions of your probation, you can face significant legal consequences. Our lawyers can review the conditions of your probation—as well as the nature of your alleged violation—and may be able to help minimize the legal impact of any probation violation.
Defining Violations of Probation
An individual can violate probation by substantially and willfully failing to abide by the conditions and terms of the probation. In order to show that a defendant violated his or her probation, the prosecution has the burden of proving such a violation by “the greater weight of the evidence.”
Specifically, the prosecution must be able to demonstrate that the defendant’s probation violation was both substantial and willful. In order to meet its burden of proof, the prosecution must be able to put forth “competent evidence” which shows that the defendant deserves to be found guilty.
What Constitutes a Probation Violation
Depending upon the charge and the terms of the defendant’s probation, any number of factors can result in a probation violation. Some of the most common probation violators in Florida include the following:
- New criminal charges or offenses sustained
- Drug tests which come back positive
- Failing to complete a drug treatment program
- Failing to pay restitution or other financial obligations
- Missing appointments with a probation officer
- Potential Penalties for Violating Probation
The penalty for a probation violation depends largely upon the nature and scope of the violation. In the worst–case scenario, a court could revoke the probation sentence and impose any sentence that it could have imposed at the initial sentencing hearing. A judge may not enter a sentence for more than the maximum penalty for the original offense imposed by state statute.
If a probation officer violates the defendant, the defendant may then be arraigned on the violation of probation charge. A hearing will then take place, at which time the prosecution must be able to prove a substantial and willful probation violation.
Talk to a St. Petersburg, Florida, Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
A probation violation can result in serious legal consequences. If you have been charged with violating your criminal probation, the attorneys at Khonsari Law Group may be able to help. We can handle the probation revocation hearing, as well as any new criminal charges you may be facing. Please call us at (727) 269-5300 or contact us online to speak with a skilled defense attorney today.