What should I do if I violated probation?
A judge can sentence a defendant to probation or community control as an alternative to incarceration. Types of probation and terms of probation vary depending upon the conviction, but the one unifying factor is absolute compliance and zero tolerance for non-compliance with the terms and conditions of your supervision. Standard terms and conditions of probation in Florida include consenting to searches, unannounced parole officer visits, being prohibited from possessing or using a firearm or deadly weapon, random urinalysis, travel restrictions, and not being around anyone engaged in criminal activity or getting arrested yourself in any location for any reason.
If you violate probation, you face harsh consequences. If your officer suspects you have violated probation in a material and willful manner, he or she can arrest you without a warrant, or have a warrant put out for your arrest. Willful means that the action of probation violation was the result of an intentional choice on your part. Material means that you violated a substantive term of your probation, such as failing a urinalysis or being arrested. Technical violations, such as being five minutes late for curfew or completing 446 of your 500 community service hours are not material violations. Almost every violation of probation or community control arrest is on a no-bond warrant, meaning you will certainly be spending time in custody unless you consult with a criminal defense attorney to negotiate the terms of your surrender.
The initial crime you were charged with is dealt with in criminal court. Probation or community control is administrative in nature, so if you violate probation you do not have the same rights you did in criminal court. You will not be entitled to a jury, and you will be held to civil standards of evidence, meaning that the prosecution must only sow a preponderance of evidence to find you guilty of violation of probation or community control. Instead of having to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the prosecution just prove that it is more than 50% likely that you are guilty.
If you suspect or know that you have been violated, contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. Do not wait to be arrested and do not contact your officer because everything you say to him or her will be used against you in the violation of probation hearing. Have your lawyer contact the officer, state attorney and the judge to negotiate your terms of surrender and get to work on your case.
We are ready to help you at The Law Offices of Gary M. Zeidwig. Use our free evaluation form to contact us, or you can send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at (954) 523-3993 so we can set up a meeting to go over your case and give you the best advice and representation. Gary Zeidwig is an award-winning trial attorney who has defended numerous clients against criminal charges and has a strong, successful history of effective criminal defense.