Court Rules a Judge can Consider an Arrest Without a Conviction During a Florida Community Control Revocation Hearing

When a defendant is convicted of a crime there are certain factors that the court can consider when determining an appropriate sentence. For example, a court is not permitted to consider a defendant’s arrest for a subsequent crime when imposing a sentence for the primary offense the defendant was convicted of committing.

A Florida appellate court recently ruled, however, that a trial court is permitted to consider facts underlying a subsequent arrest when considering whether to revoke a convicted felon’s community control.  If you live in Clearwater and are charged with a crime, it is important to retain an experienced Clearwater criminal defense attorney who will work diligently to help you retain your rights.

Facts Regarding the Defendant’s Criminal History

Reportedly, the defendant was convicted of second-degree murder. He was sentenced to eighteen years in prison followed by two years of community control. Four months after his release to community control the State filed an affidavit alleging the defendant violated his community control. Specifically, he failed to remain in his residence and refused to submit to a urinalysis. The State later amended the affidavit to include allegations that the defendant had recently been arrested for burglary, resisting officers without violence, and drug crimes.

It is alleged the defendant admitted to all of the violations. A hearing was held regarding the revocation of community control and resentencing of the defendant. Evidence was presented at the hearing regarding the defendant’s alleged recent crimes. At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court revoked community control and sentenced the defendant to life in prison. The defendant appealed, arguing the trial court committed an error in sentencing him based on his pending criminal charges.

Florida Law Regarding Evidence Permitted at Community Control Revocation Hearings

Under Florida law, a trial court sentenced a defendant that has been convicted of a crime is not permitted to consider the details of pending charges that allegedly occurred after the primary offense. The court noted, however, that the same rules did not apply in revocation hearings. The court stated that community control imposes strictly supervised custody in the community, that helps prevent further violations of the law. Courts do not have unrestrained power to revoke community control but must afford defendants due process.

Specifically, a court seeking to revoke community control must first determine whether the defendant subject to control committed a violation. The court must then assess whether any violation that has been committed is grounds for revocation. Additionally, a court must allow the defendant an opportunity to be heard at a hearing prior to revocation. A court may properly revoke community control when it has a thorough understanding of the defendant’s behavior while serving community control. Here, the court found that the defendant committed multiple violations of his community control. Additionally, the evidence presented at the hearing indicated he was unable to live in society without violating the law. As such, the court found that the trial court was within its discretion in revoking the defendant’s community control.

Speak with a Trusted Criminal Defense Attorney in Clearwater Regarding Your Case

If you are a Clearwater resident currently charged with a crime, you should meet with an experience Clearwater criminal defense attorney to discuss the facts of your case and determine what defenses may be available to the charges you face.  William Hanlon of Hanlon Law a skilled Clearwater criminal defense attorney with the knowledge and experience needed to help you seek a favorable result under the circumstances. Mr. Hanlon can be reached at 727-897-5413 or through the online form to set up a consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Federal Court Clarifies What Prior Convictions Count Toward Career Offender Status Under Florida Law, January 2, 2019, Clearwater and St. Petersburg Criminal Lawyer Blog

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