What are the Penalties for Violating the Terms of my Probation in Florida?
When an individual is found guilty of a criminal offense, he or she may be sentenced to probation rather than incarceration. Probation is a form of supervision that permits an individual to remain in his or her home and part of his or her community, but requires that he or she comply with a set of specific rules. Violation of one or more of these rules ends the individual’s probation and requires him or her to return to court, where he or she receives a new sentence for the original offense.
Examples of Probation Violations
The court can impose any reasonable requirement for an individual’s probation term. Common probation violations include:
- Missing a court appearance or meeting with one’s probation officer;
- Failing a drug test;
- Failing to make a court-ordered restitution payment;
- Failing to complete a court-ordered rehabilitation program; and
- Being arrested and charged with a new criminal offense.
Your Probation May be Revoked and You Could Head to Jail for a Probation Violation
Probation is generally seen as a preferable alternative to incarceration. When an individual on probation is found guilty of violating his or her probation, he or she returns to court and faces the penalties he or she originally faced, including incarceration.
However, he or she may not be sentenced to more than the statutory maximum length of incarceration for his or her original offense. The length of time spent on probation counts as time served, so if the statutory maximum incarceration period for an individual’s crime is one year, and he or she already spent three months on probation, he or she cannot be sentenced to more than nine months in jail.
Defending Against an Accusation of Probation Violation
The court cannot revoke your probation unless it proves that you willfully and substantially violated the terms of your probation. What constitutes a substantial violation of an individual’s probation terms is at the court’s discretion. The court must also prove that the individual willfully violated his or her probation terms through competent evidence, evidence that concretely proves its case. The burden of proof in cases like this rests upon the court and although it is lower than it is in criminal cases, it does require the court to demonstrate that the individual in question did, in fact, willfully and substantially violate his or her probation.
Defenses against a probation violation charge can include citing the defendant’s poor mental health or his or her negligence as a reason for the violation.
Work with an Experienced Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with a criminal offense and you are now facing probation or other penalties or if you are currently on probation and you are now facing a violation charge, it is important to your future liberty that you work with an experienced Miami criminal defense lawyer to handle your case. Contact our team at Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC today to set up your initial consultation in our office.