Violation of Probation (VOP) Defense Services in Tampa
Probation and Community Control (House Arrest) place many demands on your freedom, and can include the following:
- Confinement to your home
- Weekly meetings with a Probation Officer (PO) or Community Control Officer (CCO)
- Drug and/or alcohol treatment and random testing
- Prohibition from using alcohol
- Cannot own or carry a firearm
- Payment of restitution or debt
- Working at suitable employment, as best as possible
- Community Service hours
- Support of your legal dependents, as best as possible
- Restricted travel
- Electronic ankle monitor
- Cannot associate with persons engaged in criminal activities
Unfortunately, there can be many ways to violate probation. If you do violate, we strongly recommend that you seek the advice of a Board Certified criminal defense lawyer to help you through this difficult time. Ms. Palmieri has over 25 years experience with probation violation issues.
What is Probation?
“Probation” is a form of community supervision requiring specified contacts with parole and probation officers, and other terms and conditions as provided in FL Statute 948.03. Many listed above in the bullet points.
Probation, or Community Control, is issued instead of jail time, or is ordered to follow jail time. In a nutshell, probation is a time to demonstrate to the court that you are working hard to stay out of trouble.
What is Community Control (also known as House Arrest)?
“Community Control” is the more formal name for House Arrest. They both mean the same thing.
House arrest is similar to probation, but is more restrictive. You are confined to your home and can only leave your home according to a weekly approved schedule. In order to keep track of your whereabouts, the court will usually order a GPS unit to be locked to your ankle. The monitor can trigger an alarm if you are too far from your home.
You must meet weekly with a Community Control Officer (CCO) to discuss your upcoming schedule. You can leave for the purposes of school, work, doctor’s appointments, worship, etc, but it must be approved in advance by your Community Control Officer.
There are a few common-sense exceptions, such as medical emergencies. If you are not in your home outside of the approved schedule, you must contact your CCO as soon as practical.
What is a Violation of Probation (VOP)?
A Violation of Probation (VOP) occurs if you fail to meet the terms of your probation, as dictated by the court.
There are generally two ways to violate your probation:
1.) you are charged with a new crime, or
2.) You are given a ‘Technical Violation.’
The new charge can be as simple as a Notice to Appear (NTA) for a simple misdemeanor (such as an open container), or can involve an unrelated new charge and arrest.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Many people think an NTA is “just a ticket” and a fine, and do not realize that it is a new criminal charge. If you are on probation and you receive an NTA, please call us immediately.
A ‘Technical Violation’ is issued when you have not met the terms of your probation: you missed a meeting with your PO, you failed to pay a scheduled fine, moved without permission, failed a drug test, or failed to complete any other conditions set by the court.
What is Violation of Community Control (VOCC)?
Quite simply, a Violation of Community Control (VOCC) occurs if you are not home when you are supposed to be. Procedures and penalties are similar to a VOP, and for the purposes of the rest of this webpage, you can use the terms VOP and VOCC interchangeably.
My PO says I violated probation. How long until the warrant is issued?
Your PO will first file an affidavit with the court that states the reason for your probation violation. The court then issues an arrest warrant and sends it to the Sheriff’s Office, usually within days.
Depending on the seriousness of the underlying charge, the Deputies may seek to arrest you right away, or when their workload permits.
What happens to me if I have violated probation?
Once a warrant is sent to law enforcement, you will be arrested when you come into contact with a LEO or they can come to your home or place of business with the warrant and arrest you. Or you can self arrest; you can turn yourself in.
A self arrest is generally the best way to do it, as you can do it more or less on your schedule. When you have an attorney working as your advocate, you can greatly minimize the time between your self-arrest and the bond hearing.
Can I get a bond?
Most VOP’s and VOCC’s are issued as a NO BOND; that means that once arrested, you must stay in jail and cannot get a bond before you have a formal Bond Hearing in front of a judge. Out-of-county arrests can take weeks for transportation back to Tampa.
Our office can expedite the Bond Hearing, and win release for you or your loved one much sooner than if you are not represented by an attorney.
What happens at the Bond Hearing?
The judge can set a bond amount for your release, or refuse a bond altogether and keep you in jail until your next hearing.
Our office will present your side of the story, including any unforeseen circumstances, and argue for a bond on your behalf. We can even prepare an argument against the violation itself and present it to the court if we feel that there was insufficient evidence, or there was a mitigating circumstance which was not considered by the PO before issuing the violation.
Can I hire your office for ONLY the Bond Hearing? Why would I do that?
Occasionally, we represent clients for the limited purpose of appearing at the Bond Hearing. As stated above, if you have been jailed on a VOP, it is likely that it is a NO BOND situation. If you were to wait until a public defender is assigned to your case for the bond hearing, you could be facing a long sit in jail.
If we represent you for the Bond Hearing, we are able to get your case heard on the docket much sooner. In certain cases, this can save you weeks of jail time.
Time spent in jail is time that you are not at work making money, not caring for your children, not taking care of your home and finances. If you can afford an attorney for a bond hearing, it is likely to lessen the overall impact of a VOP on your life.
What is Early Termination (of Probation)?
Early Termination, or ‘Early Term,’ is designed to get you off of probation earlier than originally scheduled. Your eligibility is usually determined by the court at the time of sentencing. If you have otherwise fulfilled your requirements of probation (for example, attended counseling, paid fines or restitution, performed all of your community service hours, etc.) then you could be eligible for Early Termination. Please call our Tampa office for details.
Probation Violation Practice Areas
- Tampa Probation Violation
- Tampa Violation of Community Control
- Tampa Bond Hearing
- Tampa Bay Area VOP or VOCC
If you have violated your probation, have a community control violation or will be attending a bond hearing in Tampa, Florida, contact criminal defense attorney Lori D. Palmieri today.
Other Criminal Charges
To learn more about drug charges, including charges for possession of drugs,click here. To learn more about DUI/DWI charges, click here. If you think you may be facing additional criminal charges in Florida, click here. Or view our list of other practice areas below: