A probation violation happens in Florida when a defendant fails to comply with conditions attached to a probationary sentence. The proceedings involved with probation violations are a bit different than what the defendant experienced in criminal court. This fact is relevant because probation court proceedings do not include the burden of proof required in criminal court. Probationers also do not enjoy many of the constitutional and procedural protections granted to people who are facing criminal charges in a courtroom.
What is probation?
Probation allows defendants found guilty of a crime to serve a sentence of community supervision and avoid spending time in jail or prison. Criminal defense attorneys will make sure their clients understand that probation is a right and not the privilege of a defendant.
How probation is violated
Probation violations occur when a person acts to ignore or refuse the conditions of his or her probation. It is important to note that this failure to comply must be intentional on the part of the probationer. The following actions will prove sufficient to violate probation in many cases:
- Missing a court appearance
- Missing meetings with a probation officer
- Failure to pay fines and restitution
- Leaving the state without permission
- Drug involvement
- Arrest for criminal activity
- Visiting people and places known for criminal activity
Consequences of violations
A probation officer will alert a probationer of a problem when a violation is suspected. The officer will also inform the probationer of the date and time of any hearing scheduled.
The burden of proof at probation hearings is “a preponderance of the evidence.” The possible punishments for probation violations include extended time on probation and additional probation terms. A court could also choose to revoke the probation and send the probationer to jail.
Probationers will need to take extra precautions with their lives to avoid the violations that could send them to jail. Individuals with questions regarding the probation process will likely benefit from the services of an attorney.