Many people who are convicted of crimes in Florida will have to serve a term of probation as part of their sentence. Probation is a punishment somewhat in between incarceration and freedom. The specifics can differ depending on the individual and their charges, but when someone is on probation they may be subject to drug testing, curfew, mandated counseling, or any other requirement that the court imposes. Many defendants prefer probation over incarceration for obvious reasons, but if someone violates the conditions of their probation they may face a longer jail sentence than they would have initially. If you are offered a plea deal that includes probation, you will want to make your decision in consultation with your knowledgeable Florida criminal defense attorney.
Probation Violation in Florida
Probation can make otherwise lawful activity unlawful. For example, while of course it is usually legal for adults to be out of their home after 9pm, if being home by 9pm is a condition of your probation, you can be arrested for being out later than that. Another interesting aspect of probation is that the standard of proof is different than with criminal court. In order to prove a violation of probation, the state does not have to prove the violation beyond a reasonable doubt. Those charged with a violation of probation will also not have the opportunity to go in front of a jury but will instead be subject to the judge’s ruling. If a judge finds that a defendant has violated their probation, they can be sentenced to the maximum amount of time permitted for the underlying charge. The court will look at the conviction which led to the probation, not the conduct that violated the probation.
Court Addresses Timing of Probation Violations
A case recently heard by the Florida Second District Court of Appeal looked at the timing of a probation violations as it related to the expiration of the term of probation. The defendant in this case plead guilty to possession of a controlled substance and resisting an officer without violence. He was sentenced to one year of probation, which was set to expire on September 2, 2015. However, during his probation the defendant failed to comply with several of the conditions. These violations included failing to get mandatory drug and alcohol treatment, and failing to pay court and supervision costs.
The defendant’s probation officer told him to report to the probation office between August third and August seventh 2015. After failing to report, the probation officer filed an affidavit asserting the violation on August 18, 2015. After finding out that the defendant had moved from his last known address without informing his probation officer, the probation officer amended the affidavit on September 9, 2015 to include this information. The defendant was later arrested on a warrant stemming from these violations in 2016.
Here, the defendant argued that the violations should be thrown out because the affidavit was not filed until after his probationary period expired. However, the court disagreed. As the defendant was not able to be located during this time period, the probationary period was automatically tolled. The court does not want to reward defendants for absconding or hiding. Thus, the violation of probation was upheld.
Contact an Experienced Clearwater Probation Violation Defense Attorney Today!
Probation can include lots of different conditions, and it is important that you understand and comply with these requirements. If you are charged with a probation violation, or are charged with a crime that may result in probation, you should contact the experienced Clearwater probation violation defense attorneys at Hanlon Law Firm. They will zealously defend you against any allegations probation violations. Call our offices at (727) 897-5413 or contact us online to speak with our attorneys about your case.
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