If you have been sentenced to probation or community control, there are many requirements that you are ordered to follow. A failure to complete any of these requirements may be considered a probation violation. Additionally, if you are on probation and commit another crime, you have violated the terms of your probation. Violations of probation are serious offenses with the potential for significant penalties.
Technical and Substantive Violations
A technical violation involves any violation of the conditions of an individual's probation. Some examples of technical probation violations include the following:
- Failing to notify the probation officer of a change of address;
- Failing to pay court costs or fines;
- Missing or being late to a probation meeting;
- Not completing court-ordered classes; or
- Testing positive for drugs or alcohol.
Alternatively, a substantive violation of probation occurs when an individual commits a new criminal offense. Being accused of a new criminal violation while on probation is a very serious situation, as the individual will be facing penalties for the violation of probation as well as for the new offense the individual is being charged with.
Under Florida law, if there are reasonable grounds to believe that a probation violation has occurred, a law enforcement officer aware of the violation may arrest or request any county or municipal law enforcement officer to arrest the violator without a warrant wherever he or she is found and return the violator to the court granting the probation or community control.
If an individual commits either a technical or substantive violation of his or her probation, the judge may reinstate, modify, or revoke the probation. Critically, if the probation is revoked, the judge may impose the maximum penalty for the offense that was the basis of the probation sentence. The decision of what happens to the individual's probation is solely in the discretion of the judge. In making the decision, the judge will consider the individual's criminal record and the nature of the violation of the probation.
An individual accused of a probation violation receives less protection at the hearing to determine whether a violation has occurred. To begin with, there is no statute of limitations for a probation violation, meaning it does not matter how much time has passed since the violation occurred. At the actual proceeding, there is no right to a jury trial and guilt of the violation does not need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Instead, the lower standard of proof of by a preponderance of evidence is used. As a result, proving guilt of a probation violation is less difficult than proving guilt of a criminal offense.
Criminal Defense Attorneys
Being accused of a violation of the terms of your probation can result in significant consequences. Individuals on probation often face increased scrutiny, which may result in an inaccurate accusation that a violation has occurred. If you are facing a charge that you have committed a probation violation, contact the West Palm Beach attorneys at Farkas & Crowley, P.A.