We all make mistakes in life, and facing the consequences can be tough. However, sometimes we are granted a second chance, and for many charged with a crime, that second chance comes when they avoid jail time by being placed on probation. It is a chance to start over, but it is vital that you understand and maintain the terms of your probation. If not, you may unintentionally violate the terms of probation and consequently risk your freedom. If this happens, it is critical to hire a lawyer who understands probation hearings and will fight to keep you out of jail.
When someone is sentenced to probation in Florida, it often means that they have entered a plea deal or have been found guilty of a crime. In exchange for not serving jail time, the individual agrees to adhere to a strict set of conditions set by the state. Probation in Florida can include any of the following conditions:
– Report to the probation officer (PO) in a timely manner
– Permit PO to visit home or job
– Remain in a specified county, city or place
– Work at a place of suitable employment
– No violations of the law
– Pay restitution for any damages from the convicted offense
– Support legal dependents
– Make payments to any debt owed to the state
– Pay any fees
– No association with persons involved in criminal activities
– No visiting places where alcohol is sold
– Submit to random drug or alcohol testing
– Prohibition from carrying any weapon or firearm
– Prohibition from using any drugs or intoxicants, except prescribed by a physician
– Perform community service
If you or a loved one has violated probation, one of two things will happen next: either you will need to turn yourself in or you will be arrested for failing to adhere to the terms of probation.
Once you are in custody of the court, you will attend a violation of probation (VOP) hearing in front of a judge to explain your case and state why the violation occurred or deny that probation was violated.
If you are found guilty of a violation, you could face additional terms being added to your probation or potentially imprisonment. It all depends on the type of crime originally committed and the reason your probation was violated.
We often have clients question why they need the help of an attorney for their probation hearing. Violation of Probation hearings are not anything like the court proceeding for the underlying or open charge.
The standard of proof for a Violation of Probation hearing is different from an open charge. Unlike an open charge, there will not be a trial by a jury at a VOP hearing. You are required to present your case to the judge, witnesses are called to testify, and you may be required to testify against yourself at the hearing. In a court case for an open criminal charge, the burden of proof must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. However, in a violation of probation hearing, the burden of proof is much lower and must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence; that is, it only has to be proven that it is more likely than not that you violated parole.
These differences in a VOP hearing and a traditional court proceeding are why it is important to hire an attorney if you or a loved one has been accused of violating probation.
While a Violation of Probation hearing might not seem as important as a normal case, being found in violation of your probation can lead to loss of privileges and even your freedom. By working with a lawyer familiar with VOP hearings, you increase your chances of minimizing the damages and loss of freedom from violating your parole. At the Khonsari Law Group, we are experienced with handling parole violations and will work with you to build a powerful and effective case. To request your free consultation, contact us by phone at (727) 269-5300 or fill out our Free Consultation form.
“Mr. Khonsari put me at ease and let me know it wasn’t the end of the world. He was very quick to respond to every question I had and that was great and very helpful. He argued the motion to suppress like a true professional; it was very impressive to watch. Ultimately we won the motion and all charges were dropped, and for that he will forever have my gratitude.”