What Happens If I Violate The Terms Of My Probation?
When you received probation at your sentencing hearing, you were likely initially relieved to have avoided jail time and other more serious penalties. However, many people soon find that their relief is soon replaced with near constant stress at having to try and comply with the terms of their probation and avoid ending up in situations that could jeopardize it. The stakes are as high, as most people who are found to have violated the terms of their probation will have to serve out the sentence that was originally deferred. However, as with all legal matters, it is important to be proactive in your own defense and in this process. By understanding what happens if you are accused of violating the terms of your probation, you can also be better prepared to combat and overcome the charges.
The terms and conditions of your probation may vary significantly from others’, but there are some universal requirements, such as maintaining contact with your probation officer (attending meetings, taking required drug tests, and responding to their communications) and not violating the terms of your probation or committing any new crimes. Violations of probation can be either technical or substantive. Technical violations can take the form of failing a drug test or failing to update your address when it changes, while substantive violations occur when you create a new criminal offense.
Probation Violation Hearings in Florida
Probation violation hearings in Florida are very different from criminal trials. Because you have already been sentenced to probation, you do not have the same rights, privileges, and protections, in a probation violation hearing as you would if you had committed a new crime and were tried in a criminal court. Probation violations are actually treated more like civil court matters, in that they have a much lower standard of proof than criminal courts. Whereas in your initial trial your charges had to be proven by the prosecution beyond a reasonable doubt, in a probation violation hearing the prosecution must only establish that the violation is more likely than not to have occurred. Additionally, you will not be entitled to bond or a jury for probation violation hearings. Unlike criminal trials, in these hearings you can also be compelled to testify against yourself and hearsay is admissible. This can be a lot of obstacles to overcome, so it is always best to contact a lawyer as soon as you suspect you may be in trouble or that your probation officer might suspect or have grounds to issue a violation.
Schedule a Consultation with HAWM Law
If you have been charged with a probation violation in Florida, it could result in the revocation of your probation. It is important to talk to an experienced Florida criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Luckily, the attorneys at HAWM Law are ready to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and find out how we will fight for the best possible outcome in your case.