Consequences of Violating Probation in Florida

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Probation can be a welcome opportunity to avoid jail time or other punishment.
However, it is critical for an individual on probation to adhere to the requirements of their sentence.
If an individual violates the terms of their probation, they face harsh consequences, which, according to Florida law, can include the termination of their probation, serving the jail time they originally faced, or being charged with a new crime.
Those serving a term of probation or community control must follow a set of guidelines, which Fla.
Stat.
948.
03 states as: • Allow a probation officer (PO) to visit the home or place of work, • Not to associate with people involved with criminal activities, • Not to carry a weapon or firearm, • Not to leave the city, county or state, • Not to use any drugs or prescriptions that aren't medically prescribed, • Submit to random drug and alcohol testing, • Complete community service, • Not to violate any other laws, • Report to a probation officer (PO), • To maintain a job, • Not to go to bars or other places where alcohol is sold, • To pay any debts owed to the state, • To pay fees, • To pay restitution for any damages arising from the offense, and/or • To support legal dependants, including child support payments.
Any individual case can be customized to include only some of these, based on what the presiding judge deems necessary.
In the event that an individual violates any of the terms of their probation, they are either charged with a Substantive Violation or given a Technical Violation.
If the accused has committed a crime while on probation, they face a Substantive Violation, resulting in new criminal charges.
If a minor misdemeanor is committed, they commonly receive a Notice to Appear (NTA).
This notice appears as simply a summons to court, but it is actually classified as a new criminal charge.
If a term specific to the probation is broken, such as missing a meeting with the supervising officer, a Technical Violation will be issued.
Conversely, if an individual on probation successfully abides by the terms assigned to their case, they may be eligible for Early Termination.
This mean that a probation is ended early, returning a person to their normal life.
Eligibility for early termination is usually determined during the original sentencing for probation.
Any individual charged with violating their probation is entitled to a hearing before a judge.
Generally an offender is assigned to discuss their case with the judge who originally sentenced them to probation.
The hearing will include witness testimony and evidence regarding the violation.
However, the prosecution is only required to establish a "preponderance of evidence", meaning that they are not required to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt, they just must prove that it is likely that the violation occurred.
Because the prosecution has an easier case to establish, it can be crucial to enlist the help of an attorney in this process.
In addition, violation of probation has no statute of limitation, and thus can be prosecuted at any time.
Bail or bond is not necessarily applied while awaiting a hearing, so an accused individual may be detained for several days before their hearing.
A lawyer may be able to circumvent this wait and gather evidence on behalf of the accused while they are imprisoned.
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