Probation Violation Attorney in Fort Lauderdale
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When you are put on probation, you are agreeing to adhere to a legally binding set of standards of conduct until the probationary period is over. If you fail to follow the regulations set out for you, and are accused of violating your probation, you could face serious jail time. This could be very worrisome for any individual who is thought to have violated their probation, as the time spent incarcerated can even be increased above the original length of time of the sentence.
If you have been accused of violating your probation, having an experienced attorney on your side can make a huge difference. At Hager & Schwartz, P.A., our legal team consists of former prosecutors with decades of legal experience who understand the complexities of the criminal justice system. We can review your case, represent you at your probation hearing, and present supporting evidence that will reduce the penalties your face.
If you have been accused of violating your probation in Broward County, FL, it is critical that you contact a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer at Hager & Schwartz, P.A. immediately.
Types of Probation Violations
When the probation officer that is managing your case considers that you have violated probation, they will act quickly to issue a warrant for your arrest. There are two main types of violations: technical violations and substantive violations.
Technical violations include the following:
- Failing to report to your probation officer
- Prohibited drug or alcohol use
- Being charged with another crime
- Failure to pay fines or restitution
- A violation of an order of protection
- Failure to do ordered community service
On the other hand, substantive violations happen when a person on probation commits a new criminal offense.
If you violate your probation, you have fewer legal protections compared to being charged with a new crime. Common examples include no statute of limitations, no right to post bail, no right to a jury trial, you could end up testifying against yourself, and guilt doesn’t have to be proved “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
How are Probation Violations Handled in FL?
To figure out you if you violated your probation terms, the prosecution must prove that you violated your probation based on the “preponderance of the evidence.” In order words, it is more than 50 percent likely that you intentionally violated your probation. This legal standard is used rather than “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is often used to convict a defendant.
If you are arrested for a probation violation, you will usually be put in jail, ordinarily without bond, to await your probation violation hearing. You have the right to attend a hearing on the case, but with the assistance of a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney from Hager & Schwartz, P.A., it is possible that the charges will be dismissed even prior to your hearing.
Penalties for Violating Probation in Florida
If a judge determines you committed a probation violation, there are three things that could happen: your probation will be reinstated, your probation sentence will be modified, or your probation will be revoked and you will serve the rest of your sentence in jail or prison.
If your probation is revoked, the judge has the power to impose the maximum sentence for the original charge you faced. This means if your new sentence is longer than the sentence originally included in your plea bargain, as long as the longer sentence doesn’t surpass the maximum amount of time permitted by state law.
For instance, let’s say you are on probation for cocaine possession, which is a third-degree felony that carries a maximum five-year prison term. If you violate your probation for this charge, a judge could make you serve the full five years, even though the sentence agreed to in your plea deal was three years.
Legal Defenses to Probation Violations
The following are a few legal defenses to alleged probation violations:
- You are innocent – If you have a “good reason” for missing your meeting with a probation officer, you may not be punished for violating your probation. Common good reasons include experiencing a medical emergency or a family emergency that requires your immediate attention.
- You have good faith – It is not uncommon for individuals on probation to experience difficulties paying fees and fines associated with a criminal conviction. Failure to pay these costs can be viewed as a violation of your probation. Yet, if you can demonstrate that you tried your best to pay in good faith, you may avoid being penalized. Ensure you have the proper evidence to back up your claims.
- The court cannot prove you violated probation – If you are being accused of violating your probation by your probation officer, but he/she lacks the evidence to prove you did so, you need to provide supporting evidence of your own to show the court that you have been following the terms.
Discuss Your Options with Our Defense Lawyers
If you have been accused of violating the terms of your probation, time is of the essence. For this reason, we encourage you to get in touch with the criminal defense lawyers at Hager & Schwartz, P.A. as soon as possible. We are available to discuss your case 24/7, so don’t wait to give us a call. We offer free consultations with former prosecutors who share decades of experience.
Fill out a free case evaluation form online to get started on your case!