However you find yourself dealing with the affects of probation, it can be a highly stressful period of time while you sort through the details of your recently closed case. Knowing what does and doesn’t violate your probation will help you stay on track and help you focus on rebuilding your life. The Lopes Law Office can assist you through the entire process, and offer their expertise to help you find a resolution that works for everyone.
What Is Probation?
An individual involved in a criminal case can resolve his or her case through the process of a negotiated plea, which may involve being sentenced to a term of probation. The basics of probation is to avoid jail time while being supervised to ensure that the individual does not commit any other felonious or illegal acts while in the outside world. Being placed on probation means the individual is agreeing that he or she will:
- Not commit any future crimes.
- Complete all of his or her probation requirements and conditions within the term.
- Pay off all the financial obligations of his or her case before the probationary term is through.
- Submit to random drug testing.
- Submit to warrantless searches of his or her home by the probation officer.
- Adhere to all of his or her appointments with his or her probation officer.
- Not move or change his or her residence without prior knowledge to his or her probation officer.
These are a few of the basic requirements and expectations for someone that has opted to resolve their criminal matter by accepting a probationary term. Other rules and conditions may apply depending on the specifics of the case.
What If You Do Violate Probation?
In Florida, probation is considered a privilege and not a right, and therefore probationers do not have the same constitutional rights or protections as someone who is newly accused of a crime and has not been convicted of that crime. As such, an individual, who is alleged to be in violation of probation will, in most cases, not be eligible for a bond upon his arrest for the violation. The defendant will most likely have to stay in jail until his or her violation of probation hearing.
An individual who is accused of a violation of probation has the right to be represented by an attorney throughout the entire process. Defendants are afforded a court hearing, in front of a judge, to dispute the alleged violation of probation. Orlando criminal defense attorney, Alison Lopes, has the skill and expertise to advocate aggressively for you should you find yourself facing a violation of probation.
In order to prove that an individual violated probation, the State, must present competent evidence that the defendant willfully and substantially violated a condition of his or her probation. The burden of proof falls to the State. The burden of proof used in a violation of probation hearing is the preponderance of the evidence standard, meaning that the evidence must show that the violation more likely than not occurred. In a trial, the defendant must be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but with probation, the rules are less strict in determining guilt, only needing the prosecution to prove that defendant more likely than not violated his probation. As such, if the evidence presented establishes a 51% likelihood that the defendant committed the violation, that is basically enough for the prosecution to prove its case and to have the defendant found guilty, and therefore in violation of his probation.
It is vital that an individual accused of a violation of probation hire a lawyer to fight the allegations of a violation. If a defendant is found guilty of a violation of probation, he can be sentenced up to the maximum length of time allowable for the original charge. Meaning, if the original charge was a 3rd degree felony, he could face up to five years in prison, a 2nd degree felony is up to fifteen years in prison, and if a 1st degree felony, up to thirty years in prison. Hiring a skilled lawyer to advocate for you in a violation of probation hearing is critical. An attorney may be able to get the violation dismissed and the defendant reinstated to probation, or make arguments to the Court that could help to minimize the potential penalty imposed if the defendant is found to be in violation of his or her probation.
Are you, a friend, or family member accused of a violation of probation? This can be a confusing and difficult time, and it’s important that you know what options and possible defenses are available to you to fight the allegations of a violation of probation. The Law Offices of Alison M. Lopes, P.A., can provide you with answers and aggressive representation. Call us today!