What Is Probation Violation?

Probation violation in Kissimmee occurs when you break the terms of your probation imposed as a sentence from a previous crime.

When you are sentenced for a crime, it’s often in the form of prison time, probation or a combination thereof. If you commit another offense or behave in ways that do not conform to the rules set forth by your probation, you’ll be charged with a probation violation.

There’s an important distinction to keep in mind, however. Probation violations require intent. In other words, you can only be prosecuted if you’ve willfully and intentionally broken the rules of your probation. While you can be charged for violations that occur by accident (missing curfew due to traffic and other circumstances beyond your control), these situations don’t constitute crimes and with adequate proof you cannot be prosecuted. 

Situations Which Constitute Probation Violation

Various scenarios can lead to a probation violation in Kissimmee, FL, so it’s essential to understand and obey the rules set forth by the court and by your probation officer (PO). Some examples of what may land you in hot water throughout your probation term include:

  • Failure to report for scheduled PO appointmentsviolation of probation
  • Failure to appear for scheduled court visits
  • Non payment of court-required fines or restitution 
  • Drug possession, trafficking or positive urine drug screen
  • Leaving the state without PO permission 
  • Committing other crimes during your probation term

I Violated My Probation. Now What?

If you violate your probation, your PO will file an Affidavit of Violation (and a Department of Corrections Violation Report in felony cases). If there are sufficient grounds,law enforcement will issue a warrant for your arrest. A violation doesn’t necessarily guarantee a stiff punishment, though. In fact, probation officers are permitted to use their best judgement in how to proceed, and may choose to issue a warning or require you to appear in court. 

Probation Hearing

If you’re required to go to court for probation violation, you’ll be subject to a hearing to help determine whether you’ve legitimately broken probation rules and any necessary consequences. In this hearing, your legal team must provide more credible evidence of your innocence than the prosecution has of your guilt (known as preponderance of evidence) to decide if you did or didn’t commit a probation violation. Throughout the process, you have specific rights, too, including:

  • Written notice of the specific violations
  • Attorney representation in court
  • Ability to present evidence to support your case
  • Hearing by a neutral judge 

If you’re found guilty for probation violation after a formal hearing, you’ll face additional consequences. Sentencing typically happens a little while later, and punishments vary widely.

Sentencing for Probation Violation in Kissimmee

Following a guilty verdict at a hearing, you’ll be sentenced for probation violation. Judges are free to impose penalties up to but not in excess of the maximum for the original offense. They consider several factors when it’s time to hand down a sentence for probation violation, including the nature of the offense and whether you’re a first-time or repeat offender. 

Some of the lighter penalties for violating your probation include:

  • Community service
  • Probation extension
  • Added probation terms
  • Mandatory rehabilitation programs
  • Behavioral boot camp 

Serious penalties include:

  • Monetary fines 
  • Restitution to victims
  • Prison sentence

In the most serious cases, the judge will revoke your probation altogether. If this happens, you’ll be required to serve the remainder of your original sentence in prison.

Reported for Probation Violation in Kissimmee? Smith & Eulo Law Firm Can Help!

Are you facing a probation violation? One of your top priorities should be getting expert legal counsel on your side. Smith & Eulo Law Firm’s Kissimmee criminal defense attorneys can provide defense and legal advice during the hearing process so your voice is heard. Call us today.