Have you been arrested in connection with a probation violation? At Frank Schwartz, P.A., we’re here to protect your rights.
A probation violation is a serious matter. If you’re found guilty, your probation could be extended. Worse, you could wind up having to finish out your sentence in jail or prison. Our Miami probation violation attorney will fight tooth and nail to save you from these harsh penalties. With over 20 years of experience, we are highly skilled in representing clients in violation of probation (VOP) hearings. We will make it our mission to vigorously defend you.
For a free consultation, contact our Miami probation violation attorney online today! Se habla español.
Florida Probation Violation Laws
Although probation is a great privilege, it can also be a hassle.
Under Florida law, probation for a misdemeanor lasts up to six months; felony probation can last up to a year. This time is often marked by all sorts of stress—in the home, on your bank account, and at work. Even when you fully intend to comply with your probationary order, it’s common to lose sleep over doing everything right.
Here are just some of the most common terms and conditions for misdemeanor and felony probation:
- Follow a specific curfew
- Avoid contact with the alleged victim
- Refrain from alcohol and drug use
- Submit blood or urine samples
- Report to a probation officer
- Pay fees to cover your probation
- Pay restitution and court costs
- Maintain employment and a place of residence
If you step out of line once, you may be incarcerated. For this reason, it is crucial to know the terms of your probation. You also need to know what your probation officer may consider a violation of those terms.
What Is a Probation Violation in Florida?
In general, there are two types of probation violations: technical and substantive.
Technical violations are what most people lose sleep over, as they have to do with the specific terms and conditions of your probation. Since these conditions can be very restrictive, it can be easy to violate them unintentionally.
For instance, having a job is a requirement for many probation agreements. If you lose your job, you are supposed to report to your probation officer immediately, then start looking for another job. Some wait too long; others have trouble finding a job because they now have a criminal record. This can lead to a violation if the probation officer isn’t clear about what they expect from you during your job search.
A few examples of technical violations of probation include:
- Curfew violations
- Traveling out of the county without permission
- Violating restraining orders
- Trying to contact the alleged victim
- Failing or missing a drug or alcohol test
- Failing to report to the probation office
- Failing to inform your probation officer of job loss
- Failing to report changes to basic information, such as contact info
- Failing to attend or complete court-ordered treatment or counseling
Committing another crime while on probation will land you with a probation violation charge. These types of violations are called “substantive violations,” and they’re a slippery slope. Here’s why: If you are found not guilty of the criminal offense, the fact that you were charged may still work against you in a VOP, or violation of probation, hearing.
Unlike in criminal court, the burden of proof in VOP hearings is not “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The prosecutor only has to prove the violation was likely committed, or “by a preponderance of the evidence.” That means if the prosecutor can convince a judge that there’s a 51% chance you violated your probation, you will be found guilty at the VOP hearing.
Consequences of Violating Probation in Florida
If you’re found guilty of violating probation, you could face the following penalties:
- Probation revocation: Your probation may be revoked, landing you with time in jail or prison for the initial offense.
- Stricter probation terms: A judge may decide to toughen up the terms and conditions of your probation. Community control falls in this category (see below).
- Longer probation sentence: A probation violation could land you with a longer probation sentence than originally agreed upon.
- Counseling, treatment, or support group: You may be ordered to complete counseling or treatment for low-risk violations. In some cases, the court may order you to join a support group.
Penalties for a first-time violation of probation tend to be lighter than repeat violations. The same goes for violating misdemeanor probation as opposed to felony probation. However, it all depends on the case and the judge overseeing it.
Community control may be ordered as punishment for a probation violation. It may also be used as an alternative to incarceration.
In Florida, community control is basically a type of house arrest. You may still be able to go to work or school, but you will likely need to wear a GPS tracking device so that law enforcement can keep track of your whereabouts.
How to Get Off Probation Early
It is possible to get off probation early. In Florida, you can file to have your probation terminated after completing at least half of your probation sentence. You may need to show that you have finished any court-ordered programs (such as anger management) and that you’re current on all fees and court costs.
If you believe you qualify to get off probation early, contact Frank Schwartz, P.A. for help filing a motion for early termination of probation.
Changing Your Probation Terms
People who are on probation can benefit by changing the terms of their probation. If you choose to work with our firm, we can help prevent future violations by making your probation requirements more manageable.
Probation modifications can allow you to:
- Reschedule mandatory classes
- Change hours of community service
- Move up the completion date for your probationary period
- And much more
Modifying your probation can be completed by filing a motion to modify. Sometimes, you may become eligible to modify your probation based on certain circumstances.
In a free consultation, our Miami probation violation attorney will go over whether probation modification is an option for you.
At Frank Schwartz, P.A., we offer proven legal representation in Miami and its surrounding Florida communities. Since opening our firm, we have successfully tried well over 100 cases in state and federal courts. There is no criminal case too complex for us. As a former prosecutor, Attorney Frank Schwartz has a breadth of knowledge and insight into how courts handle sentencing, probation, parole, and other criminal matters. With the guidance and aggressive legal skill of our Miami probation violation lawyer, we aim to take a difficult time in your life and turn it around.
Do you have questions about your probation? Or have you been accused of a probation violation? We’re here to help.
This time in your life can be stressful and confusing. Let our criminal defense team help you make sense of it. We work hard to help clients avoid further criminal charges, saving them from serving the remainder of their sentences in jail. We will work without rest to make sure you get the legal protections you deserve.
- Over 100 Successful Trials in Federal & State Court
- More Than 20 Years of Legal Experience
- Insight & Knowledge as a Former Prosecutor
- Work Directly With Attorney Frank Schwartz
- Will Fight For You Like You're Family
- Fluent in Spanish
Frank Schwartz is a Miami attorney who concentrates his legal practice in the area of criminal defense. Mr. Schwartz is proud to have established a highly successful and effective criminal defense trial practice in South Florida.