Florida Court Discusses Due Process in Probation Violation Proceedings

Individuals charged with a crime in Clearwater have a right to due process under the state and federal constitutions. Due process includes the right to be adequately informed of the basis of any crimes or violations with which a defendant is charged. The right to due process does not end when a defendant is convicted but extends to sentencing hearings and violation of parole proceedings. Recently, a Florida appellate court addressed the due process requirements of probation violation proceedings, in a case in which an order finding a violation was reversed. If you live in Clearwater and are charged with a violation of the terms of your probation, it is critical to retain a skilled Clearwater probation violation defense attorney to fight to preclude any evidence the state should not be permitted to introduce at your trial.

Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the defendant was charged with violating three of the terms of his probation. The first violation was for allegedly failing to comply with the requirement that the defendant must report to his probation officer, the second violation was for moving without notifying his probation officer and obtaining his consent, and the third violation was for committing a new criminal offense. A hearing was held after which his probation was revoked, and a sentence was imposed. The defendant appealed, arguing that his right to due process was violated during the hearing.

Due Process in Probation Violation Hearings

In Florida, the right to due process in criminal proceedings extends to cases in which violation of probation cases. To comply with the due process requirements, the probation order must place the probationer on adequate notice of the conduct that is prohibited and required during the probationary period. Additionally, if a violation of probation has allegedly been committed, both the affidavit of the violation and the court’s finding that a violation has been committed must mirror the language of the probation terms. Thus, terms that are not set forth in the conditions of probation cannot form the basis of an alleged violation of probation.

In the subject case, the appellate court found that the trial court erred in finding the defendant violated the second term of his probation. Specifically, the court’s findings that the defendant violated the terms of the second condition, prohibiting the defendant from moving without notice and consent, were limited to the terms of the first condition, which required the defendant to report to his probation officer. In other words, the findings only referred to the defendant’s reporting requirement. As the trial court’s findings did not mention the requirements of the second condition, the appellate court found that the finding that the defendant violated the second condition must be stricken from the order revoking probation.

Consult an Experienced Clearwater Probation Violation Defense Attorney

If you live in Clearwater and are currently charged with a probation violation it is in your best interest to consult an experienced Clearwater probation violation defense attorney regarding your alleged violations and your potential defenses. Attorney William Hanlon of Hanlon Law is a seasoned Clearwater probation violation defense attorney who can provide you with an assertive defense to help you protect your liberties. Hanlon Law can be reached at 727-897-5413 or through the form online to schedule a confidential and free consultation.


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