VOP Under Florida Law
Orlando Violation of Probation Attorney
Violation of probation is a serious offense in Florida that occurs when a person accused of a crime, and put on a special supervision program called probation, violates willfully and substantially one of the conditions of that probation.
Types of Violation of Probations
There are two different types of Violation of Probation under Florida Law:
- Technical violation - A technical violation of probation occurs when the offender fails to comply with one or more of the conditions imposed by the court and specified in the probation agreement.
- Substantive Violation - A substantive violation happens when the probationer is charged or arrested for a new crime. Sometimes. If you are charged with a new crime while in probation, chances are that you will not be allowed to bond out of jail until you go in front of the judge and fight your VOP charges.
It is important to note that if you are arrested for violation of probation charges you are not entitled to a bond, unlike when you are arrested for a new charge. The judge has the discretion to give you a bond, but they do not have to, and you cannot appeal their decision to deny it.
Reasons for a Violation of Probation
Some of the most common reasons for a violation of probation include:
- Getting arrested for a new crime
- Failing to complete a drug treatment or other court-ordered program
- Failing to pay a fine
- Missing a meeting with the probation officer
- Testing positive for drugs
- Forgetting to report an address change
- Failing to attend a court-ordered meeting
What happens after you have been accused of violating your Probation?
Once a probation officer makes an allegation that you violated your probation a probation warrant will be issued and you will be arrested. In some cases the court will issue a notice to appear instead. If you are allowed to remain at liberty while the VOP charge is pending, you are still required to keep in contact with your probation officer and to continue to make your meetings. It is key for you and your future defense to continue complying with your probation conditions, such as reporting to your probation offices, even if you think he/she will report that you violated your probation. If you don’t keep in contact with the probation officer, chances to obtain a bond, if you are violated, and to successfully fight your VOP case will be slimmer.
The period of time from the issuance of the warrant or the notice of appear, will not count as part of your probation period.
If you are arrested for VOP, you will not be entitled to a bond. However, depending on the nature of your probation and other factors such as how far in your probation period you are and how well you have complied with your probation until that day, we might be able to negotiate one with the court. If you are not granted a bond you will be held in custody until a VOP hearing in front of the sentencing judge. This, in some instances, may take some time.
It is extremely important that you contact an experienced VOP lawyer as soon as you suspect that a violation of probation allegation occurred. There are many strategies that can be used by your defense attorney to defend your rights.
- Contact your Probation Officer and try to negotiate another opportunity
- File a motion for surrender
The VOP Hearing
Once an arrest warrant is issued and you are taken into custody a Violation of Probation hearing, very different than a regular hearing, is scheduled to review your case.
A violation of probation hearing has the following characteristics:
- There is no jury involved.
- The State does not have to prove whether or not you are guilty of the original charges.
- The State has the burden of proving that you violated your probation and the judge decides if you violated your probation.
- If the Judge considers that a violation occurred, he/she can sentence you to the maximum penalties allowed by law for the original charge that resulted in your probation.
- The Judge has the authority to modify your probation conditions, including the duration of the probation term, or to reinstate your probation. Or the judge can revoke your probation and sentence you to up to the maximum available sentence for the original charge.
- The burden of proof is different at a VOP hearing than at a jury trial for a new charge. The burden at a VOP hearing is not “beyond a reasonable doubt”; rather the state has to prove to the “satisfaction of the court’s conscience” that the individual willfully and substantially violated a condition of his/her probation.
If you are found guilty of violation of probation, you will now be “convicted” on the original charges, which means that you will have now a criminal record. That is why it can be crucial who represents you, since the issue of whether you are adjudicated or not can sometimes be negotiated favorably.
If you are put back on probation, even if you have been in jail for some time waiting to have a VOP hearing, the judge can continue to withhold adjudication of guilt.
Contact Defense Attorney David Hill
If you or someone you care about has been charged, or might be charged, with a Violation of Probation (VOP) in Florida, call us immediately for a free evaluation consultation. Being involved early in the case is of the utmost importance. Sometimes, and depending on the nature of the charges, Criminal Defense Lawyer David P. Hill might be able to contact the probation officer and even prevent the VOP charges to be filed. Attorney David Hill has helped many clients in his past 20 years as a criminal defense attorney in the State of Florida and would be honored to take your case too. We are available 24 hours a day at (407) 648-0006. You may also fill out our online form provided on this page or email us directly at email@example.com. We will keep your information confidentially.