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Violation of Probation

Once a trial concludes in a criminal matter, and a sentence is imposed by a judge, if the result is a probationary ruling it's generally the best outcome a defendant could have hoped for. When a criminal case has been completed in which the evidence pointed to little doubt of a defendant's guilt, or witness testimony was negative for the defense, contrary to receiving a sentence that will result in jail time, being placed on probation is nothing less than the result of the staunch work of a superior criminal defense attorney or a gift from a judge who believes a sentence of incarceration would serve no positive purpose... or a combination of the two.

However, it's important to understand that being granted probation is an acceptance of guilt by the defendant, and a probationary sentence doesn't come without strings attached. Many come with strict rules which if not abided by may result in violation and possible revocation.

In the State of Florida, if a person convicted of a crime who is serving a probationary sentence is charged with a violation of its terms, in most cases a warrant for their arrest will be signed by a judge and law enforcement will attempt to apprehend the individual.
The same will relate to a person on parole.

Once in custody, it is important to understand that the same rights that every resident of the state could expect to be honored when accused of committing a crime no longer apply or exist.

Basic rights such as a right to a bond hearing, a right to a trial by jury, guilt having to be proved by the prosecution beyond a reasonable doubt, testimony of hearsay not being allowed without corroboration are no longer available. There is also no statute of limitation restrictions during a probation violation hearing. These protections no longer can assist with defending accusations against you.

However, there are defenses for a violation of probation and in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties; my law firm is experienced in getting the best results if a Violation of Probation is charged.

There are two categories for a violation of probation: Technical and Substantive.

A Technical violation is an actual non-compliance with any of the terms of the sentence. When a person is placed on probation the conditions are relayed to them either by the judge that rendered the sentence or the probation officer that is now the supervisory authority.

Examples of Technical violations can be as simple as moving to a new living location (changing your legal address) without notifying a probation officer or missing or being late to a scheduled appointment with them set by the terms of the agreement. Ignoring paying penalties or fines, failing a drug test and not attending court ordered courses or programs can also cause a probation officer to violate you. It's basically like any other contract. If the terms of the contract are broken, it can be deemed null and void.

A Substantive violation occurs when an accusation of a new criminal charge is alleged. If this takes place during the period of time that a probationary sentence was ongoing, the new charge will be tried as a separate issue but may affect the current sentence in place.

Even if the new charge is dismissed or a trial has a finding of not-guilty, probation still can be violated based on the fact that the original offense does not fall under the same rights as explained above. A judge can also impose the maximum sentence for the original crime if a violation of probation is upheld.

Over the course of my more than thirty-five year career as a criminal defense lawyer as well as the time I spent as an Assistant State and Federal prosecutor, I have successfully argued cases when probation and parole violations are alleged from both sides of the stand. Consequently, I've been able to cultivate a suitable perception relating to what issues should be raised and argued when there are allegations of a violation of probation or parole.

If you need a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who will fight for your rights and plan a strong defense for any criminal matter, including violations of probation or parole call me at 954.928.0059 at the earliest possible time when you need competent, superior representation.

To view my qualifications and read about what you should do if you are facing a possible probation or parole violation, click here.