Florida Court Discusses Permissible Terms of Probation in Drug Crime Cases

When a defendant is convicted of a crime and sentenced to probation, the court has broad leeway in determining what probationary terms are appropriate. While the court’s discretion is broad, it is not unbounded, however, and any conditions of probation must be reasonably related to the crime for which the defendant was convicted, as discussed in a recent Florida case in which the defendant objected to the terms of his probation after being convicted for multiple drug crimes. If you were charged with a drug offense or any other crime in Clearwater, it is wise to meet with a knowledgeable Clearwater drug crime defense attorney to discuss your case and potential defenses.

History of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant was charged with and convicted of multiple crimes, including possession of drug paraphernalia, cannabis, and methamphetamines. He was sentenced to imprisonment for 270 days, followed by probation. The terms of his probation required him to submit to a test for sexually transmitted diseases. The defendant appealed, in part, to challenge the test.

Conditions of Probation Under Florida Law

Under Florida law, a sentencing court has broad discretion in determining what special conditions to impose for a probation sentence, but the discretion is not without bounds. Instead, for a condition to be valid, it must be reasonably related to the rehabilitation of the defendant. In other words, it must have a relationship to the crime for which the offender was convicted, it must relate to the conduct which in and of itself is criminal, and it must forbid or require conduct that is reasonably related to future criminality.

In the subject case, the court found that the requirement that the defendant had to undergo a test for sexually transmitted diseases as a term of his probation failed all three aspects of the relatedness test. First, the court noted that he was convicted of drug crimes and of driving with a suspended license, which were not crimes of a sexual nature. Further, the court explained that it was not a crime for a person with a sexually transmitted disease to engage in sexual activity with someone else.

Lastly, the court explained that it was not reasonable to believe that submitting to a test for sexually transmitted diseases would have any impact on the defendant’s likelihood to commit criminal acts in the future. In sum, the court could not determine what purpose, if any, the imposition of a test for sexually transmitted diseases as a requirement of the defendant’s probation was meant to serve. Thus, the court removed the condition from the defendant’s probation.

Meet with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

If you live in Clearwater and are charged with a drug offense, it is critical to understand what penalties you may face if you are convicted and what steps you can take to obtain a just result. Attorney William Hanlon of Hanlon Law is an experienced Clearwater drug crime defense attorney who can advise you of your rights and assist you in pursuing the best result available under the facts of your case. Mr. Hanlon can be contacted through the online form or at 727-897-5413 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

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