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Contact a Top Sarasota Probation Violation Attorney

FLORIDA PROBATIONARY LAWS EXPLAINED BY A SARASOTA PROBATION VIOLATION ATTORNEY

A violation of probation is a serious matter that should be handled with extreme caution. There are many ways to violate probation and, if you are found to be in violation of misdemeanor or felony probation, you could receive a substantial jail or prison sentence that is equal to the statutory maximum the trial court could have imposed at the time of being sentenced on your original charge(s). As a former prosecutor, our Sarasota probation violation attorney has the experience and insight necessary to ensure that you receive the best possible outcome to your case.

WHAT CONSTITUTES A VIOLATION OF PROBATION?

A violation of probation occurs when a person commits a willful and substantial violation of the terms and conditions of his or her probation. Therefore, there must be a failure of compliance that is significant and done willfully.

A probationer who fails to comply with the conditions of his or her supervision despite reasonable or good-faith efforts to comply (i.e. pay fines or court costs) does not violate his or her probation willfully. Technical violations (see below) are also not considered substantial or willful violations. A single missed appointment with a probation officer, for example, is not sufficiently substantial to support a finding of a violation of probation and your Sarasota probation violation attorney will present this to the court.

The court may not declare a violation of probation where the conduct forming the basis of the alleged violation occurred before probation began or was imposed after the probationary period ended.

“SUBSTANTIVE V. “TECHNICAL” VIOLATIONS OF PROBATION

Generally speaking, there are two categories of violations: “substantive” violations and “technical” violations. A substantive violation of probation occurs when the Defendant commits a new crime while on probation.

A technical violation of probation occurs when a probationer fails to comply with a specific condition listed in the probation order. Examples of a technical violation include failing to pay restitution, failing to pay fines and court costs, failing to perform community service, failing to complete a DUI school, failing to complete a Victim Awareness Program, leaving the jurisdiction, failing to submit to random drug testing, and failing to report to one’s probation officer.

DEFENSES TO PROBATION VIOLATION

Your Sarasota probation violation attorney will explain this to you in more detail, but there are two primary defenses to probation violation: 1) the violation was not willful, and 2) the violation was minor, or insubstantial.

No Willful Violation

Probation violations must be deemed willful in order for punishment to be imposed. If you can show that your violation was unintentional, then you will avoid liability entirely. For example, suppose that you violate your probationary curfew condition due to unexpected traffic on the road, then that will likely not be considered a willful violation.

Insubstantial Violation

Not all probation violations — intentional or otherwise — are substantial enough to lead to a revocation of probation itself, or to the imposition of additional terms and conditions. Prosecutors will have to show that your violation was material and substantial.

For example, if you are banned from using the internet (except during set hours) due to the terms of your probation, but you send a message to a friend using cellular phone data, that may not be considered a substantial and material violation. When cellular phone data is used to send a text message (but not to browse the internet), it is technically “internet-based,” but the court is unlikely to see it as material to the probationary conditions, unless a separate phone use condition applies.

AVOID HARSH PENALTIES BY CONSULTING A SARASOTA PROBATION VIOLATION ATTORNEY

Upon the revocation of probation in Sarasota, the court may impose any sentence, which it might have originally imposed before placing the probationer or offender on probation. Hence, the defendant may be sentenced up to but not in excess of the maximum penalty allowable by law.

The court also has the option to reinstate probation or modify probation, and perhaps impose additional conditions. In cases involving minor technical violations, the court may even allow for more time for the probationer to complete the outstanding conditions with no further penalties. Because the facts and circumstances of each probation violation case can vary extensively, it is imperative to hire an experienced Sarasota probation violation attorney to ensure that you receive the best possible outcome to your case.

If you have been accused of violating your felony or misdemeanor probation in Sarasota, a probation violation attorney at Fowler Law Group can help. Contact our office at: 941-404-8909 to schedule your free and confidential case evaluation.

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