If you have been sentenced for a crime, your lawyer might move the court to accept a plea and order probation. Accordingly, you’re allowed to return to the community on condition that you’ll follow certain rules.
At times, the court orders a combination or split sentence. You spend only a portion of the sentence in prison and stay on probation for the remainder. You must display good behavior and remain under the supervision of a probation officer.
If you break the rules of your probation, that is called a violation. If you’re facing violation charges, an Ocala probation violation lawyer is the key to presenting the valid reasons for your offense.
What Counts as a Probation Violation?
You can be prosecuted if you intentionally break the rules of probation. However, if you’ve violated the conditions of probation by accident and you have proof, the court may overlook the offense.
Here are some of the general situations that can be considered a probation violation.
- Not paying the court-mandated fines or restitution
- Leaving the state without informing the PO
- Committing a new criminal offense during the probation term
- Changing your address without informing the PO
Other violations occur when you don’t attend mandatory commitments:
- Not showing up to meetings with your probation officer (PO)
- Not showing up for your court visits
- Not completing any other conditions of the probation like community service hours or rehabilitation classes
These probation violations are specific to the use or possession of drugs and alcohol.
- Possessing or trafficking drugs
- Testing positive on a urine drug test
- Drinking alcohol when the court has ordered you not to
A Probation Violation Results in an Arrest Warrant
If you violate any of the conditions of probation and you’ve committed a misdemeanor, the probation officer fills out an Affidavit of Violation. Of course, there is a chance that your PO lets you off with a warning, but it’s up to them. In case of a felony offense, the Department of Corrections Violation fills out the report and a warrant is issued for your arrest.
Once arrested, you will be taken to court for a hearing. Depending on the conditions of the case and other circumstances, the court may choose to send you back to prison and order that you complete the remaining prison term. If you’re arrested for a new crime during probation, the police officer could issue a probation violation in conjunction with the new arrest. This is called an on-view violation.
A Court Hearing Determines the Consequences of the Probation Violation
If you go to court for a hearing due to a probation violation, the judge determines whether you’ve willfully and intentionally broken the rules of the probation. If so, the judge decides what consequences will follow.
For instance, if you missed appointments because of traffic or any other situations beyond your control, your Ocala probation violation lawyer will provide the necessary proof. You could get off with leniency or less severe punishments.
During this hearing, you have the right to a written notice detailing the specifics of the violation. You must be heard by a fair and impartial judge. You are also entitled to the assistance of a qualified attorney and the ability to provide necessary evidence.
You Could Face Different Sentences Depending on the Nature of the Offense
If you’ve been found guilty of breaking the rules of the probation, the judge could impose penalties. Several factors are taken into consideration such as the kind of offense and whether you’ve broken the probation conditions before. However, these penalties cannot exceed the maximum punishment for the original offense.
Some of the penalties can include:
- Community service hours
- A longer probation
- Additional rules added to your probation terms
- Mandatory rehabilitation programs
- Monetary fines
- A prison sentence
- Payment of restitution to the victims of your crime
If the offense is severe, the judge may choose to revoke the probation and order you to complete the remainder of your prison term.
How Having a Probation Violation Helps
People often find that they’ve unintentionally broken the conditions of their probation. Unavoidable situations can result in missed appointments.
If you find that your probation has been revoked, get in touch with a reputable Ocala probation violation lawyer to represent your case in court. The attorneys at Smith & Eulo have handled hundreds of similar cases in over 20 years of working in Ocala. Rely on them for valuable advice. They will create a strong defense that could win back your freedom.