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Probation Violation Florida: Violations, Rules & Consequences

According to the Florida Department of Corrections, almost 150,000 people are currently under probation, while over 80,000 offenders serve their sentences in jail or prison. Since it’s a path to deter crime by keeping individuals in the community, Florida probation is a suitable punishment for some offenders.

Probation in Florida is a sentence that can be imposed instead of incarceration. Although it prevents you from going to jail or prison, probation is still a sentence with certain restrictions. As a result, violating the conditions of your probation can lead to severe consequences. 

Even though you remain free, serving probation in Florida can be challenging. If you want to explore the terms of your probation or believe you have violated some of your conditions, you should seek the counsel of a criminal defense attorney near your residence. 

How Does Probation Work in Florida?

Florida probation laws describe probation as a form of community supervision. In other words, probationers can serve their sentence without going to jail or prison. However, their freedom is restricted by certain conditions, such as being supervised by a probation officer. 

In Florida, probation can be imposed on offenders who were found guilty of a crime. According to section 948.011, this type of sentence is available for offenses punishable by fine and imprisonment. However, it is up to the judge’s discretion to place offenders under probation. 

The severity of a probation sentence depends on the level of risk an offender can pose to the community. Offenders perceived as ‘low risk’ to the community may be placed on a more lenient form of probation, known as administrative or unsupervised probation.

On the contrary, probationers could be placed in an intensive supervision program with strict probation rules if they represent a danger to society. In assessing the level of risk, some of the elements that the court may take into consideration include, but are not limited to:

  • Circumstances of the offense.
  • Presence of prior convictions.
  • Employment history.
  • Probationer’s past and present behavior.
  • Offender’s family ties and length of residence in the community. 
  • Probationer’s mental condition. 
  • Likelihood of engaging in new criminal activities. 

In Florida, probations follow some standard conditions. However, the court can dictate special conditions as long as they are related to the crime and are appropriate for the offender. 

For example, domestic violence probation requires you to take a Batterer’s Intervention Program. This condition will not be pertinent for a drug offender’s probation, in which case the probationer may be required to take drug tests or follow a substance abuse treatment. 

Early termination of probation 

The length of probation in Florida depends on the severity of the crime. However, this duration cannot exceed the maximum sentence associated with the crime. Early termination of probation occurs when an offender is released from community control before the period of probation is completed. 

According to Florida Statute §948.04, you must meet the following requirements to be considered for early termination of probation:

  • Have completed at least half of the period of probation.
  • Not having any violations of probation. 
  • Have paid fines, restitution, and court costs imposed. 
  • Have completed all the conditions of the probation, such as community service, enrolling in a program, etc. 
  • Not being qualified as a violent felony offender. 

If you are under supervised probation and meet the previous requirements, you can file a motion to convert your community control to administrative probation. 

Similar to other aspects of probation in Florida, whether an early termination or a conversion to administrative probation is granted or not depends on the court’s discretion. So, even if you meet all the requirements, the judge may still deny your petition had he or she believed that keeping you under probation is in the community’s best interest. 

If you are under probation in Orange County and would like to evaluate your options, contact a probation lawyer to have your case assessed. 

What Is Violation of Probation in Florida?

When placed under Florida probation, offenders are subject to certain conditions. Committing a new crime while being on probation or failing to abide by the conditions set by the court is considered a violation of probation in Florida. 

As explained before, the court sets standard and specific rules (conditions) probationers must follow during their probation. Failure to follow these conditions is known as a technical violation. 

Probation Violations in Florida: Examples of Violations

Florida Statute §948.06 describes the actions that can lead to a technical violation of probation. Examples of these violations include, but are not limited to:

  • Failure to report to the probation officer. 
  • Testing positive for a drug or alcohol test. 
  • Failure to report a change of address, employment, or other required information.
  • Violating curfew. 
  • Failure to attend a required course, treatment, or meeting. 
  • Refusing or failing to submit a drug test. 
  • Leaving the county without permission. 
  • Not meeting the monthly quota on payments, community work hours, or any activity required by the probation. 
  • Associating with people engaged in criminal activities. 
  • Being in possession of a firearm. 
  • Failure to remain at an approved residence. 

Consequences of violating probation

Violating Florida probation can lead to different consequences depending on the severity of the offense. In less severe cases, the court may modify the terms of your probation to include more strict conditions. For instance, if you were on administrative probation at the moment of the violation, you may be placed into community control. 

However, a technical violation can also lead to a revocation of probation. If probation is revoked, offenders may be sentenced to serve the incarceration penalty associated with their crime. 

As harmless as a failure to comply with a term may seem, violating a condition of probation in Florida should not be taken lightly. In fact, the Florida Department of Corrections reported that in 2019 18,461 offenders had their probation revoked due to a technical violation. 

If you are accused of violating the terms of your probation, you should seek legal representation as soon as possible. An experienced criminal defense attorney can present a strong defense for your case and try to reduce the consequences resulting from the violation. 

Contact an Orlando Probation Violation Defense Attorney

With so many conditions to follow, Florida probation can be more challenging than people usually think. Making a mistake and violating one of your conditions can end in the loss of your freedom. In this situation, you owe it to yourself to seek competent legal counsel. 

At Z. Hernandez Law, we believe in second chances. If you were accused of violating your probation in Orange County or surrounding areas, we may be able to help. Contact criminal defense lawyer Zarina Hernandez to book a consultation and explore the best legal avenues for your case. 

Legal information reviewed by:
Zarina Hernandez | Founder & Attorney

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