General Violation of Probation Questions

I have a lot of folks asking general questions about Violations of Probation, which can also include Violations of Community Control or house arrest. First, once a supervising officer becomes aware of either a new law violation or a technical violation of the rules, he must report it to the court. The judge then determines if a warrant should issue for the alleged violations. That can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks depending on the severity of the allegations and the county. Once a warrant is served, the defendant generally is held without bond. That means you will sit in custody until you can get in front of a judge (other than your first appearance) to try to resolve the violation. That can last from days to weeks. The course of action that I suggest to my clients is to calendar a turn-in to the court and try to resolve the violation all in the same day. Often times there is sufficient reason to continue on supervision and avoid jail or prison time. You want someone advocating your position instead of sitting back and waiting for the system to get to you.

In Florida, felonies are scored according to written sentencing guidelines on a scoresheet. A violation results in 6 additional points, (12 for a new felony conviction) and may get a defendant in excess of 44 points that will tip the scales toward prison time. The amount of time a person could potentially get for a violation of probation is a function of their original scoresheet and how many points have been assessed. The judge is free to sentence a defendant up to the statutory maximum for the underlying charge, i.e. 3rd Degree felony up to 5 years, 2nd degree felony up to 15 years and 1st degree felony up to 30 years.

Violation sentences can be dependant on what efforts the probationer has made toward their financial and treatment obligations. The goal is to get supervision reinstated and get the probationer off supervision as soon as possible. That takes some ingenuity and talent and bit of luck.

I’ve Violated My Probation- Now What?

Unfortunately, there are many ways one can violate probation or community control (house arrest).

When you are under either probation or house arrest, you are placed under demands that limit your freedom including confinement to your home, weekly meetings with a probation officer, random drug tests etc,. (full list of probation violations )

Probation is given either in replace of jail time or following jail time. During this time period it is important to demonstrate to the courts that you are staying out of trouble.

Generally, people violate their probation the follow two ways:

1.) you are charged with a new crime, or

2.) You are given a ‘Technical Violation.’

House arrest is similar to probation, the only difference being that you are confined to your home unless instructed by the courts. Simply put, if you are not home you are violating house arrest.

If you violate your probation or house arrest, it is important to contact a Board Certified criminal defense lawyer to guide you through the next step.

After the violation, your probation officer will issue a warrant for your arrest. At this time officials have the right to arrest you at any given time or you could opt for self arrest. There is generally NO BOND for probation violators but law offices like Palmieri Law can expedite the bond hearing to reduce the time spent in jail.

If you do violate your probation or house arrest sanction, the most important thing you can do is contact a criminal defense lawyer. If you are in the Tampa area, Board Certified criminal defense lawyer Lori D. Palmieri has over 18 years experience with probation violation.

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