Sarasota Probation Violation Lawyer
Defending Clients in Sarasota County Charged With Violating Their Probation
A probation violation is a serious matter that should be handled with extreme caution. There are many ways to violate probation, and if you are found to violate misdemeanor or felony probation, you could receive a substantial jail or prison sentence that is equal to the statutory maximum the trial court could have imposed at the time of being sentenced on your original charge(s). As a former prosecutor, our Sarasota probation violation attorney has the experience and insight necessary to ensure you receive the best possible outcome for your case.
WHAT CONSTITUTES A PROBATION Violation?
A probation violation occurs when a person commits a willful and substantial violation of the terms and conditions of their probation. Therefore, there must be a failure of compliance that is significant and done willfully.
A probationer who fails to comply with the conditions of their supervision despite reasonable or good-faith efforts to comply (i.e., pay fines or court costs) does not violate their probation willfully. Technical violations (see below) are also not considered substantial or willful violations. For example, a missed appointment with a probation officer is insufficient to support a finding of a violation of probation, and your Sarasota probation violation attorney will present this to the court.
The court may not declare a violation of probation where the conduct forming the basis of the alleged infringement occurred before probation began or was imposed after the probationary period ended.
“SUBSTANTIVE V. “TECHNICAL” VIOLATIONS OF PROBATION
Generally speaking, there are two categories of violations: “substantive” violations and “technical” violations. A substantive violation of probation occurs when the Defendant commits a new crime while on probation.
A technical probation violation occurs when a probationer fails to comply with a specific condition listed in the probation order. Examples of technical violations include:
- Failing to pay restitution.
- Failing to pay fines and court costs.
- Failing to perform community service.
- Failing to complete a DUI school.
- Failing to complete a Victim Awareness Program.
- Leaving the jurisdiction.
- Failing to submit to random drug testing.
- Failing to report to one’s probation officer.
Common DEFENSES TO PROBATION VIOLATION
Your Sarasota probation violation attorney will explain this to you in more detail. Still, there are two primary defenses to probation violation: 1) the violation was not willful, and 2) minor or insubstantial.
No Willful Violation
Probation violations must be deemed willful for punishment to be imposed. If you show that your violation was unintentional, you will avoid liability entirely. For example, suppose you violate your probationary curfew condition due to unexpected traffic on the road. That will likely not be considered a willful violation.
Not all probation violations — intentional or otherwise — are substantial enough to lead to a revocation of probation itself or the imposition of additional terms and conditions. Prosecutors will have to show that your violation was material and substantial.
For example, if you are banned from using the internet (except during set hours) due to the terms of your probation but send a message to a friend using cellular phone data, that may not be considered a substantial and material violation. When cellular phone data is used to send a text message (but not to browse the internet), it is technically “internet-based.” Still, the court will unlikely see it as material to the probationary conditions unless a particular phone use condition applies.
Contact Our Sarasota Probation Violation Attorney
Upon revoking probation in Sarasota, the court may impose any sentence it might have originally imposed before placing the probationer or offender on probation. Hence, the defendant may be sentenced up to but not in excess of the maximum penalty allowable by law.
The court also has the option to reinstate probation or modify probation and impose additional conditions. In cases involving minor technical violations, the court may even allow for more time for the probationer to complete the outstanding conditions with no further penalties. Because the facts and circumstances of each probation violation case can vary extensively, it is imperative to hire an experienced Sarasota probation violation attorney to ensure that you receive the best possible outcome to your case.
Contact Fowler Law Group today to schedule a FREE consultation with our probation violation lawyer in Sarasota!
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September 2023Andrew Pouget is recognized as Top Elite Attorney in criminal defense by SRQ Magazine.
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