If you’ve recently found yourself in a situation where you have been accused of violating your probation (VOP), then you know just how stressful and severe the consequences can be. Not only could this mean a potential return to prison, but it also carries with it the possibility of hefty fines and extended probationary periods.
But despite all that, there is hope—with the help of an experienced Violation of Probation Lawyer in Clearwater, FL, such as Smith & Eulo, your VOP plight doesn’t have to spell disaster for your prospects. They’ll guide you through the process as you fight this accusation.
The Basics of Probation
Roughly 146,000 offenders across the state are being supervised by Florida’s Office of Community Corrections. Currently, there are over a hundred different offices with probation officers who are tasked to monitor and oversee these offenders.
Offenders managed by probation officers:
- Currently on parole
- Have conditional release
- Under conditional medical release
- Under court-ordered supervision
- On pre-trial intervention
Their ultimate goal is to safeguard the citizens by providing practical assessment, supervision, and treatment of adult offenders placed on probation. If they are non-compliant, they will be reported to the releasing authority.
What is the Condition of Probation?
The condition of probation is a rule to live by while on probation. These are things that the offender must follow. Otherwise, they may be found in violation of their probation.
Common conditions that are placed on an offender while they are under the supervision of a probation officer can include the following:
- Not breaking any laws (including those related to drugs, alcohol, and weapons)
- Not leaving the state without permission
- Maintaining employment or actively seeking employment
- Paying fines and restitution ordered by the court
- Attending all scheduled meetings with your probation officer
- Remain within a specified place
- Permit the probation officer to visit them in their home or elsewhere
- Make reparation or restitution to the aggrieved party for the damages or loss caused by their offense
It’s worth noting that the terms and conditions of the probation will depend on what the court has ordered. It is essential to keep these in mind as you navigate your way through the probationary period.
What Happens If I Have Been Accused of Violation of Probation?
You must find a Violation of Probation Lawyer Defense in Clearwater if you have been accused of violating your probation. They’re professionals well-versed in Florida laws regarding probation violations and can help you fight a VOP accusation.
People face a VOP charge if they fail to meet the above-mentioned conditions. And statistically, more people are in prison for violating their probation conditions than for their original offense. It simply means the judges punish offenders for not following the rules rather than for breaking the law.
Fortunately, lighter sentences have been developed according to the recent changes in the law than in the past. It’s called the Alternative Sanctioning Program, which your Clearwater Violation of Probation lawyer will discuss with you upon consultation.
Penalties for Violation of Probation in Clearwater, Florida
The penalties for a VOP can be harsh. It usually involves arrest on the VOP warrant with no bond. It’s followed by a formal hearing to determine whether the violation occurred and what punishment should be given.
Other penalties for violating your probation:
- Continue your probation under the same conditions
- Revoke your probation
- Order a new term for your probation conditions
- Impose a period of incarceration
- Impose other sanctions authorized under Florida law
If you believe you’re about to be accused of violating your probation, you better act quickly. Look for a reliable Violation of Probation Lawyer defense attorney in Clearwater who can defend you before the court. They can review your case and discuss some of the available sentencing alternatives with you or provide guidance on best managing your probation conditions.
What is the Alternative Sentencing Program?
An alternative Sentencing Program permits the judge to lower the punishment significantly on a violation as long as specific terms and conditions are met. However, you can only qualify for the program if you’re either a Low-Risk of a Moderate risk violator.
Once you prove you’re one of the two, the alternative sentencing program places a cap of 90 days of jail time. For instance, you can only have five days of incarceration for dirty urine or a 50-hour community service. However, the program is extensive and requires the violator to comply with various conditions to succeed.
The Only Way to Avoid a Violation of Probation is to Comply
If you want to avoid receiving punishments for accidentally violating your probationary terms, it’s best to be meticulous and follow your conditions. You must be mindful and always meet up with your probationary officer while avoiding petty crimes. While some might feel cumbersome and a hassle, it’s best to follow them strictly.
Probation is considered a privilege instead of a right. It gives you a chance to rehabilitate as a law-abiding citizen. Make sure to take advantage of it and stay out of trouble. But when you’re wrongfully accused, hiring a lawyer is the best option. They can help form a solid defense to ensure you stay outside and finish your probation rather than going back to jail.
Work with an Attorney to Find a Solution Against Your VOP Charge
Getting accused of violating your probation is serious. It means you not only have to face jail time and hefty fines but also the revocation of your probationary period; unless you meet the criteria for the alternative sentencing program, harsh penalties will follow.
The lawyers at Smith & Eulo are more than capable of helping you out during VOP cases. They’ll be with you every step of the way to provide legal support. If you are in a bind, don’t hesitate to contact us today. We can talk about your case, and we can work on developing a winning solution right away.