Florida law generally provides just two options for judges in sentencing those convicted of a crime: fine or incarceration. Fortunately, the law also allows for several alternative sentencing options, including probation as a viable choice for those who are eligible. Probation is not actually a “punishment” per se, but rather, it allows an offender the opportunity to complete certain tasks in lieu of a harsher punishment. Accordingly, probation is not without restrictions, conditions and limitations – which must be closely followed or additional penalties could ensue.
As experienced probation violation attorneys, we understand the highly specific nature of a probation sentence, as well as the technical violations that could quickly lead to arrest. If you are facing a violation of probation (VOP) charge, we can help. We understand the intricacies of Florida law in this area and are ready to fight for a fair result on your behalf.
Options Following Violation
Probation officers are an extension of law enforcement tasked with monitoring probationers within the community. If an alleged violation occurs, it is the responsibility of the officer to report the issue to the court, which is accomplished by the filing of an affidavit detailing the nature of the violation.
From there, the court must decide whether to issue a warrant for the individual’s arrest or dismiss the allegation all together. If the court decides the former, the offender must either turn himself in or will be subject to immediate arrest – which is where an experienced Sarasota probation violation attorney comes in.
Violation of Probation Hearing
If the judge opts to issue a warrant for arrest, a violation of probation hearing will occur to determine whether the violation actually occurred. Under Florida law, a violation of probation occurs when alleged infringement is both willful and substantial in nature. Moreover, the state is required to meet a lower standard of proof than the typical “reasonable doubt” threshold of most criminal proceedings – making it all the more important to work with an experienced probation violation attorney throughout the process.
One option following a finding of violation is for the court to reinstate the original sentence applicable to the underlying conviction. In other words, the court may impose any sentence that could have been imposed initially, up to the maximum allowed by law. As well, the court may impose a lesser sentence or allow the offender to continue completing probation under the original agreement – perhaps with additional conditions or requirements.
Defenses to a Violation of Probation Allegation
There are a number of options for the probation violation attorney to utilize when defending against such allegations. For instance, the attorney could assert that the alleged infraction was not willful in nature, and occurred as a result of circumstances outside the defendant’s control. Moreover, the attorney could argue that the violation was miniscule or insignificant – which defeats the statutory requirement that violations must be both willful and substantial. Lastly, an experienced probation violation attorney can object to the contents of the officer’s affidavit, which must be supported by factual and truthful evidence.
Contact a Sarasota Probation Violation Attorney Today!
If you are facing a probation violation charge and would like to discuss your options with an experienced attorney, please contact the Fowler Law Group as soon as possible: (941) 900-3100.