Probation is an effective alternative punishment when being sentenced for a crime. Probation allows defendants to avoid jail time by remaining a part of the general public while meeting specific terms and conditions mandated by the court. Since most probation sentences can last anywhere from a few months to several years, it is essential to understand the terms and conditions of your probation so that you refrain from violating it. 

What it means to violate probation 

A violation of probation, referred to as a VOP, is any time a probationer violates any term or condition of the probation guidelines mandated by the court. Terms and conditions of probation vary depending on each individual case. Common conditions include:

● Regularly reporting to a probation officer

● Refraining from committing more crimes

● Paying restitution

● Gaining and maintaining employment

● Submitting to random drug testing

● Attending counseling

● Staying within a particular area of a city, county, or state

If you fail to adhere to the terms stated when you were sentenced, you have violated your probation and can face serious consequences. It is important to seek guidance from a criminal defense attorney such as Alison M. Lopes if you are placed on probation to understand all its terms and conditions. 

To be charged with a probation violation, there must be evidence that you were willfully non-compliant with the terms. If you are suspected of committing a VOP, your probation officer will file an Affidavit of Probation Violation. Then, you would be required to attend a court hearing to be convicted. 

Types of probation violation 

Since the terms and conditions of probation vary from case to case, the types of probation violations also vary. Types of violations can include, but are not limited to: 

● Failing a drug test 

● Committing a criminal act 

● Missing or breaking a curfew

● Failure to meet with your probation officer

● Associating with known criminals 

● Inability to complete court-mandated programs 

● Leaving the city or county without permission 

Technical violations 

A technical violation is when you fail to follow the terms of your probation. The most common result from a technical violation is modifying the current terms of the probation, such as increasing the length of time or imposing stricter guidelines.    

Substantive violations 

Substantive violations are when a probationer is accused of a new crime. In this case, you may be presented with additional charges and sentenced for committing a new crime. 

Consequences of probation violation 

Since probation is a less-severe alternative punishment for a crime that could have resulted in jail time, the consequences for violating probation are drastic. There is also no statute of limitations on filing a probation violation. Once a VOP is filed, a warrant for your arrest may be issued. You will then be requested to come to a court hearing, where a judge will review your case. You have fewer rights for legal representation if charged with a VOP, which means you do not have the right to a trial by jury or to get a bond. At the hearing, your probation may be reinstated (with stricter terms), or the judge will eliminate the probation, and you may go to jail. In addition, you may face the sentence you would have faced for the initial crime. The consequences for probation violation are stated in Florida Statute 948.06.

Alison M. Lopes: Defense lawyer for probation violations

If you have been accused of violating your probation, you could face severe consequences. Contact criminal defense attorney Alison M. Lopes at 407-442-2724 for a consultation to discuss your options and rights.