What are the consequences of probation violation?

shoplifting boy on bench in park

When a Florida court sentences a defendant to probation, the accused gains freedom from incarceration with specific terms. Violating the terms of probation could bring serious consequences, including a return to jail.

Violating terms of probation

Under Florida law, a police officer may arrest someone who materially violates probation. State statutes allow the police to arrest the probationer based on “reasonable grounds,” leading to the suspect’s return to the court that issued the probation.

A probation officer may arrest the probationer or request law enforcement to perform the arrest. No warrant is necessary, and missing a probation meeting could be enough to be arrested.

Probation violations come in numerous forms; not appearing in court and failing a drug test are typical reasons. Associating with known criminals, possessing a weapon, leaving the state or not maintaining steady employment could all be examples of violations. Probationers will find it valuable to understand the terms of their probation to avoid problems.

Consequences of violating probation

While a criminal defense plea bargain may leave a defendant free on probation, violations mean a return to court and uncertainty about the judge’s decision. Although the defendant may not have to serve out their remaining sentence, returning to jail is possible. A stint in jail, even a short one, is not likely something the defendant wants.

One possible consequence involves the extension of the probation term. For example, someone serving 12 months of probation may contend with 18 months due to violations. All the terms associated with the probation continue with the extension, sometimes creating inconveniences. A person unable to leave the state might be unable to visit loved ones.

Defendants who violate probation need to show evidence that the circumstances were unavoidable. Otherwise, there may be negative consequences.