January 8, 2018
Probation allows you to serve your sentence outside of jail and is a big help for those with families and jobs. Unfortunately, probation is a privilege, not a right, and the court can sometimes revoke it. If you’re afraid of losing your probation, contact a qualified St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney to advise you about the right course of action. Below are some reasons the court can revoke probation.
You Broke the Law Again
One common condition of probation is that you won’t violate the law during your sentence. For example, the court might sentence you to five years of probation on condition that you stay on the right side of the law. If you commit another violation, the court can send you behind bars.
Interestingly, the state doesn’t need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime—that’s the standard for a criminal conviction. In a probation revocation hearing, the prosecution only needs to present direct evidence not based on second-hand hearsay. This lower standard of proof makes the state’s case to revoke probation for criminal violations far easier.
Even minor criminal violations can cause you to lose probation. For example, you might receive probation for felony grand theft. However, a simple drug possession charge could cause a judge to revoke your probation and send you to jail—so keep a clean criminal record during the length of your probation.
You Didn’t Satisfy Other Conditions of Probation
Probation usually comes with many other requirements in addition to keeping your nose clean. For example, it’s not unusual for probation to require:
- Daily visits to your probation officer
- Steady employment
- Regular home visits
- Regular or random drug testing
- Drug treatment programs
- Staying in your current residence
If you fail to uphold your end of the bargain, then you will violate of the terms of your probation and will probably have to defend yourself at a hearing. For example, if you blow off a drug test, then you violated probation, regardless of whether you used drugs.
You must commit a substantial and willful violation to lose probation. For example, a Florida court held that a single missed appointment with a probation officer isn’t enough to lose probation if you present a valid reason. But contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if you find it difficult to comply with the conditions of your probation.
You Failed to Pay Court Costs
Probation can cost you a lot of money. For example, you might need pay compensation to your victims (called restitution), as well as the cost of drug testing and other fees. If you intentionally refuse to pay these costs, then the state can revoke your probation. However, you can still keep your probation if you prove by clear and convincing evidence that you can’t afford those costs.
Contact a St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Probationers should do everything possible to comply with the conditions of probation. If you can’t, then reach out to a St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Khonsari Law Group has extensive experience working with probationers and has represented them at probation revocation hearings. Contact us today at (727) 269-5300 or fill out our online contact form.