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What Sort of Conduct Qualifies as a Probation Violation?

Criminal Defense Attorneys in Sarasota, FL

Though probation is seen as a better alternative to imprisonment, it’s not always easy or straightforward to abide by the terms and conditions of probation.  Violation of probation in Florida can lead to significant fines and penalties, which includes the revocation of the probation itself (then leading to imprisonment) or the imposition of additional terms and conditions.

At Fowler Law Group, we regularly defend clients in probation violation proceedings.  Contact us to learn more about how we can help.

Probation Can Be Violated in a Variety of Ways

Violations of probate typically occur when the defendant fails to adhere to one of the conditions established by the probation judge, or when the defendant commits an unrelated criminal offense — even something minor, such as refusing to pay for a speeding ticket in violation of the law.

For example, if one of the conditions of your probation is to secure employment (part-time or full-time), then your failure to do so within four or five months of the start of probation might be considered a violation.

Defenses to Probation Violation

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.

Contact Fowler Law Group for a Free Consultation

Fowler Law Group is a boutique Florida criminal defense firm focused on the provision of detail-oriented, results-driven legal representation.  We regularly advocate on behalf of clients who have been charged with a probation violation and are committed to working with such clients to avoid revocation and/or the imposition of additional terms of probation.

If you have been charged with a violation of probation, please call 941-404-8919 or submit an online case evaluation form to connect to one of our experienced Sarasota defense attorneys today.  We look forward to defending you.

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