An experienced Violation of Probation Attorney like Mike G can help you defend yourself during a violation of probation hearing. The Judge is required to review each allegation of a violation affidavit to determine whether an alleged violation is willful and substantial. The legal standard for proof is by the greater weight of the evidence.
The evidence comes in the form of documents and testimony from witnesses that appear in court. Hearsay is admissible to help establish a violation but a finding of willful and substantial violation cannot legally be based solely on hearsay.
If a Defendant makes a good faith effort to comply with the conditions of probation, but fails to comply because something outside of their control prevents them from doing so that should not constitute a willful and substantial violation. An example of that might be a medical emergency.
A word to the wise. DO NOT COME INTO COURT AND THINK YOU WILL BULLSHIT THE JUDGE. THEY HAVE HEARD IT ALL BEFORE. Coming into court when a Defendant knows they are going to be violated and claiming a medical emergency by having gone to the emergency room before their probation officer gets there HAS BEEN DONE BEFORE. Do not make this your defense strategy unless there was a genuine medical emergency. And, if you do not have a driver’s license you should not drive. The Judges are going to ask you why you did not call a cab or Uber or ride a bus or ask someone else to drive. It is always better to admit you screwed up than to lie to the Judge or your probation officer. The Judge is never going to believe you instead of your probation officer.
Examples of some reasons probation may be violated:
- Testing positive for drugs.
- Drinking to excess.
- A new arrest. Just being arrested does not mean that the Judge will automatically find you in violation.
- Failure to report to your probation officer.
- Failure to pay your fines, court cost and/or cost of supervision, if you have the ability to pay them but fail to do so.
- Not doing your community service hours.
- Ignoring the instructions of the Probation Officer. Some instructions may not be legal or logically and legally related to the offense. An experienced violation of probation attorney should know what these may be and defend you accordingly.
- Not telling your probation officer that you are moving from an Approved Residence.
- Getting a new job and not telling your probation officer.
- Violating your Curfew.
- Leaving your county of residence without your probation officer’s consent and knowledge.
- Failure to Complete a Counseling and/or Treatment Program, such as, drug counseling, Anger Management or Domestic Violence Batterer’s Intervention Program.
Consequences of Being Found in Violation of Probation
- Best Outcome: The judge dismisses the violation of probation affidavit and terminates probation. Sometimes if it is a very old case and the Defendant resides out of state and the underlying charge is not too serious the court may just prefer to close the case out. This might happen in instances where the original sentence was considered too harsh and the Defendant has already completed a substantial portion of his probation.
- A Judge can find a violation, extend the time that you have left on probation, and impose additional community service, counseling, drug residential program with follow up treatment, etc.
- Worst Outcome: A judge can revoke and terminate the probation, convict a Defendant even though the Judge originally withheld adjudication of the underlying offense and sentence the Defendant to jail or prison time which can be up to the maximum allowed by law for that offense.
Hiring an experienced violation of probation lawyer is not just about achieving a good result that a Defendant can live with. Mike G Law is available to guide you through the many traps and pitfalls that can destroy your life and undo an otherwise great result when you are serving probation or community control. Being lazy or neglectful while on probation can wind you up in Florida State Prison but following Mike G’s advice will result in potentially an early termination of your probation and you will avoid a lot of stress and anxiety worrying about your probation.