Community Control in Florida
What is Community Control? Community Control (CC) is a form of punishment that is either part of a plea negotiation with the State Attorney or from a judge’s order at sentencing (following either a loss at trial or a plea to the bench). (CC) is essentially just a more intense version of probation. There are more check ins, you must have a schedule for your daily activities and routines, and there are often other more restrictive conditions that are added on top depending on the nature of the offense.
- What are the Community Control Conditions? See Florida Statute 948.101 for a more comprehensive break down of the statute. For our purposes let’s consider some of the specific language in the statute:
- (1) “The Court shall require intensive supervision and surveillance for an offender placed into community control.” In other words, the very language of the statute itself calls for a more demanding form of supervision. An easy set of conditions would not meet the statutory requirements (although it is highly unlikely that there would be an appeal on this issue of law).
- (2) The Statute goes on to list examples of things that the Court could sentence the Defendant to as a condition of community supervision:
- (a) House Arrest
- (b) Mandatory Public Service
- (c) Supervision using electronic monitoring
- (d) Can’t transfer unless a transfer is approved via interstate compact.
- (e) Other Standard Conditions of Probation
- More Difficult than Probation? Yes, by the legislature’s own definition community supervision is and should be imposed in a much more stringent fashion than traditional probation. To give you an example of a case of how easy community control is to violate, consider a recent case: The Defendant is on community control. The Defendant goes to get ice cream at a store across the street from his house. The Community Control Officer is driving for a visit and finds the Defendant outside his house walking across the street. The Community Control Officer files a violation because the “ice cream store” trip was not on the Defendant’s schedule. Within hours the Defendant has an outstanding warrant for his arrest. In sum, community control IS DIFFICULT. It is in fact extremely difficult and should only be entered into under certain circumstances and with the advice of counsel.
- Consult an attorney? Community Supervision is something that needs to be discussed at length with your attorney. Community Supervision requires ultimate control and discipline. A good attorney knows how to articulate the pitfalls of community control to the client AND THE STATE. It is not uncommon for a state attorney to make the suggestion of several years of community control in lieu of jail or probation. It is also not uncommon for an experienced defense attorney to reduce the duration of community control being offered in many instances. Yet, an inexperienced lawyer may lack the ability to get it reduced (how can you argue for reduction if you do not have an intricate understanding of how community control works), or they may have no problem encouraging a client to take that sentence, thinking it was just a slightly tougher version of probation. Unfortunately this can be a recipe for disaster unless all parties understand what you really are getting yourself into.