In Florida state law, some individuals are put on a federal probation period instead of given a lengthy jail sentence serving time due to a criminal offense. They may not be in confinement, but they are still required to follow strict rules—even when on unsupervised probation that doesn’t involve a probation officer or any other forms of probation regulations.
Unsupervised probation, also called administrative probation, involves a lot of terms and conditions, but it’s preferable to jail time or being constantly monitored by a probation officer. Having good criminal defense lawyers on your side can help to defend you in federal courts and advocate for you to receive unsupervised probation; thus, will allow you to continue living your life without major disruptions (as long as you don’t commit any probation violations in the future.)
Defining Unsupervised Probation
According to the State of Florida, probation is defined as court-ordered community supervision wherein a probationer is “required to abide by all conditions ordered by the Court” until your probation sentence is completed. The conditions of probation or the terms of your probation involve certain rules, such as: paying fines and court costs that involve court-ordered classes or counseling sessions, participating in drug testing, alcohol testing, DNA sample procedure, warrantless searches, performing community service, and meeting with a probation officer.
Unsupervised probation (also called administrative probation) does not require supervision by a probation officer and is generally less strict than other types of probation. It does not typically involve regular meetings, letting probation officers inspect a home or workplace, or checking in for curfew.
You retain more freedoms under unsupervised probation, but you’ll still be required to adhere to strict conditions. Those conditions vary depending on the details of each case and the results of the court hearing, but they typically allow people to return to their regular daily lives after an arrest.
Conditions of Unsupervised Probation in the Criminal Justice System
Under unsupervised probation, you may not be subject to the strict surveillance or supervision of a probation officer, but you may still be beholden to certain conditions based on the court-ordered decisions.
For example, someone charged with a drug or alcohol offense (such as driving under the influence) may be restricted from consuming illegal drugs and alcohol, and can be subject to drug testing. Some other conditions of unsupervised probation may include:
- Community service requirements (volunteering)
- Drug testing/drug and alcohol education/counseling
- Paying court fines
- Educational/vocational skills courses
- Therapy or anger management
- Maintaining a clean criminal record going forward
These conditions can be tough, especially if you are found guilty of repeated offenses or of a repeated committed crime. Even though, these specific rules of probation are significantly less severe than the restrictions faced by individuals on supervised probation. At the Mike G. Law Firm, a criminal defense lawyer can help negotiate the conditions of your unsupervised probation with a judge to get you a fair outcome that would not only eliminate supervision by law enforcement but also lighten your probation conditions.
Eligibility for Unsupervised Probation
It’s ultimately up to the court, where a judge decides who is eligible, what type of probation would take place, and the terms of your probation. According to Florida Statute 948.01, judges may grant probation and parole to individuals who are not considered likely to commit future offenses. Individuals are eligible whether they are convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor.
Someone convicted of serious or repeated failure of a legal issue may not be likely to receive probation, nor are those who have been found guilty of committing serious felonies. It is important to contact an aggressive law firm in order to work with a criminal defense lawyer who will increase your chances of getting unsupervised probation instead of going to prison for the crime committed.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between parole and probation?
In the criminal justice system, a probation sentence is typically established during initial sentencing and ordered by a judge during a trial based on a particular offense or a crime. On the other hand, parole is granted by a parole board to incarcerated individuals after they have already served time in jail or prison.
Put simply, parole is a form of conditional release or early release from jail; probation is often in place of jail or instead of a full sentence.
How long does unsupervised probation last?
The judge in charge of your case will decide the length of your probationary period based on the crime committed. The exact length will vary from case to case.
In Florida, most probationary periods last on average about four years, but some may be as long as 15 years or as little as six months. Your lawyer can help advocate on your behalf when the judge is deciding on the length of your probation.
What happens if you’re found in violation of probation?
You may be arrested and charged with a Violation of Probation (VOP). If you are found in a probation violation, a judge may change the conditions of probation, lengthen the probationary period, supervise the probationer, or even order jail time. The State of Florida has zero-tolerance for probation violators, so there is almost a guaranteed chance of facing further penalties.
The consequences of a VOP depend on a variety of factors. Probation violations are classified as either a technical violation (such as failing to pay a court fine or missing a counseling session) or a substantive violation (which involves committing a new offense while on probation). Substantive violations of probation are considered more serious, even if the new offense is only a misdemeanor.
It’s important to seek legal help if you’ve been found in violation of probation rules. A lawyer can help negotiate the terms of your probation with the judge during a VOP hearing or even beforehand.
If you’re charged with a VOP, do you get “credit” for time spent on probation?
It’s a common myth that if you’re charged with a VOP, you may avoid additional jail time by receiving credit for the time you’ve spent on probation.
In reality, courts do not take into account the time you’ve spent on probation when deciding on jail time or other consequences for a VOP. If you’ve spent 36 months on probation, you will not have 36 months subtracted from a future VOP sentence.
How a Lawyer Can Help
On unsupervised probation, people can avoid jail time and retain their freedom. A criminal defense lawyer can help defend you in court and work toward keeping you from behind bars.
If you’re facing criminal charges—even as a first-time offender—you need a skilled defense attorney on your side to help you understand your rights and freedoms guaranteed by law.
The legal team here at Mike G. Law is ready and able to defend people who have been arrested and need help in court, as well as those who have been charged with a Violation of Probation.
We’re here to protect you. Fill out the form below to contact us for help.