There are many different ways to violate the conditions of probation. It is important that once you are on probation that you follow all of the instructions given by a judge or a probations officer as well as any rules of probation that are outlined under Florida law.
When a person is convicted of a crime, one sentencing option a judge could employ is imposing a term of probation, or a period of supervision when a person is allowed to remain living and working in the community.
While the definition seems fairly straightforward, the rules and conditions imposed on a probationer can make compliance quite difficult.
What are Some Common Conditions of Probation?
While judges can work with probation officers to determine specific conditions of probation, usually some standard conditions apply to all probationers.
A portion of probation will focus on appropriate rehabilitation, such as group or individual therapy and other programs aimed at addressing alcohol abuse or drug addiction.
The court can order random drug testing, can order a person to stay away from certain places or people - usually those locations or individuals who have a high relation to the crime that was committed - and can order the probationer to remain free from further criminal activity.
While the conditions listed above do seem supervisory, some conditions are tailored and designed as retribution for the criminal act. Some examples include consenting to home searches or surrendering weapons as well as being asked to restrict drug and alcohol use.
During the frequent visits with your supervisory probation officer, if there is evidence - like a failed drug test - that you are not complying with the terms of probation, then the probation officer will file a motion with the court to revoke your probation.
How Much Does it Cost to be on Probation?
From court costs, restitution to probation fees, it can cost a lot of money to be successful on probation.
If a person's property was damaged due to the criminal activity, then the judge might order payment of restitution as a condition of probation, meaning that if you do not pay the allotted amount of money, then you could be in jeopardy of having your probation revoked.
Anytime a person appears in court, a court fee is associated with that case, and another monetary condition of probation might be to pay that bill. Along those same lines, there is usually a monthly fee associated with supervised probation that should be paid at the time of a probationer's office visit with his or her probation officer.
What Happens if I Commit a New Crime?
Committing a new criminal offense is the quickest way to ensure that your probation is revoked, and that any criminal offense - from being pulled over for a DUI to being arrested for committing arson - will lead you to the courtroom again, not only to face the new criminal charges but also for the judge to decide how to handle your time remaining on probation.
Navigating a new criminal charge alongside a probation revocation hearing is a challenge that a defendant should not take on alone. It is critical that you have an attorney representing you who can effectively argue for you to remain on probation as well as offer legal advice to help resolve the charges you may face for committing a new crime.
Are You Facing a Probation Revocation Hearing?
Probationers caught violating a condition of probation are subject to having their probation revoked and then having all or part of their original suspended jail or prison sentence imposed.
During a probation revocation hearing, a probationer's attorney will have the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses, including the probation officer. The defense attorney may also call witnesses in the probationer's defense. For example, if the motion to revoke probation was filed because the probationer failed to pay court-ordered monies, the defense attorney can call other witnesses and enter documents into evidence that prove the probationer is meeting all other required conditions.
After all the evidence is shared, a judge will determine the outcome.
It is critical to have an attorney present when facing probation revocation in order to have your rights and your legal interests protected. Understanding the nuances of probation revocation and how to navigate the judicial system is a critical advantage when the objective is to remain on probation and out of jail or prison.