Violation Of Probation
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Violation Of Probation
In the state of Florida, a violation of probation is said to occur when a probationer fails to comply with a condition of the probation. The failure to comply must be willful and substantial for the probationer to have violated the probation. Violations are classified by low-risk violations that tend to be a positive drug test, failure to report to probation as instructed, failure to report a change of address, failure to attend a required class or a violation of a curfew condition. Moderate to high-risk violations will be reserved for violations such as, absconding, committing a new law offense, violation of house arrest or community control etc.
Violations of probation can occur at the misdemeanor and felony level. If the probationer is on probation, they will be expected to comply with the terms and conditions of that probation. If a violation does occur the probation officer will likely inform the probationer of the violation. Depending on what the violation is, it is possible that maybe a warning could be given by the probation officer and a document of the incident could be drawn up to note the matter in the probationer’s file. If the violation was a slight oversight or nothing too serious the warning may be how the matter is resolved. The probation officer may also elect to handle the violation administratively. This means that the probation office will alert the office of the State Attorney of the violation, but the sanction will be handled by the probation officer which typically eliminates the need to have the matter heard in court at a hearing. The probation officer may add to the terms of conditions and simply allow the probationer to continue probation so long as the violation does not happen again.
If the probation officer will be filing an affidavit of violation with the court the process may proceed as follows. An affidavit of violation is filed with the court by the probation officer alleging what conditions of probations were violated and how they were violated. The probation officer will make a recommendation of sentence. If this is the first violation it is possible, they will recommend an addition of terms to complete and maybe a reinstatement. For subsequent violations and in instances where the probationer is said to have absconded (left and never returned to probation) the recommendation will likely be to revoke and terminate the probation and sentence the probationer to a jail term to satisfy the remaining probation sentence. Upon the filing of an affidavit of violation of probation, a warrant for the probationer’s arrest may be entered and or an order to show cause issued ordering the probationer to come to court and show cause why they should not be held to have violated the probation.
The probationer may then deny the violation in which case the matter will be set for a violation of probation hearing where under a preponderance of the evidence standard the State will have to prove the violation was willful and substantial. If this is met, the court will find the probationer is in violation and may impose a sentence of either a reinstatement or revoking the probation and sentencing the probationer to a term of jail/prison depending on the underlying charge for which the person was on probation. Alternatively, in lieu of the hearing if the probationer wishes to admit that there was a violation, the state may make an offer to either reinstate the probation with added terms or even a jail sentence that may resolve the violation and probation. Although no probationer ever wants to go to jail and or prison, depending on their lifestyle and current life circumstances, sometime ending the probation and simply serving a jail term may not be a bad resolution to the violation matter. This is because, after the jail term has been completed there is no more probation afterward and the person is now off supervision and does not have to report and or comply any longer.