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Florida Violation of Probation (VOP)

Pensacola Violation of Probation Lawyer Chris L. Rabby, of Christopher L. Rabby, P.A. can help defend your future from a violation of probation (VOP) charge in Pensacola, Escambia County, and Milton, Santa Rosa County, Florida.  As a former Assistant Public Defender, Chris Rabby has extensive experience with all levels of VOP’s and VOP allegations, regardless if it is a Pensacola VOP or Milton VOP. This perspective can prove invaluable in understanding the prosecution’s case against you and weakening it.

Probation in Florida, generally:
Probation is a sentencing function of the Court that allows a non-jail sentence to be imposed which is an alternative to incarceration.
A condition of probation is a rule to live by while on probation.  Most of them are common sense, like-
You can’t get drunk or use drugs while on probation
You can’t get arrested while on probation
You can’t possess guns on probation
You have to report in and be supervised
You cannot lie to your probation officer

A violation of any of the conditions can result in a violation of probation (VOP) and a jail/prison sentence.
The Standard Conditions are generally set out by Florida Statute §948.03, they include:
Report to your probation officer as directed,
Permit the Probation Officer to visit you at home or elsewhere,
Work faithfully at lawful employment, to the extent possible,
Reside at a specified place/address,
Make restitution, pay fines, court costs and cost of supervision as directed,
Pay for costs of incarceration and related costs,
Support legal dependents to the best of your ability,
Not associate with persons involved in criminal activity,
Submit to random drug testing,
Be prohibited from owning or possessing a dangerous weapon or firearm,
Be prohibited from consuming intoxicants to excess (sometimes at all),
And not visit places where illegal intoxicants, illegal drugs, or other dangerous substances are distributed,
Do not change your residence or employment or leave the county of your residence without the consent of your Probation Officer.
Submit a DNA sample to be maintained in the DNA bank at the F.D.L.E.,
Submit a photograph to be posted on the Department of Corrections website,
(Yes, the fact that a person is on probation or prison in Florida will come up on a “Google search”)
You must live and remain at liberty without violating the law
(**This is the most important condition and a conviction in a court for the new arrest is not necessary to be a violation of probation**)
(You cannot catch a charge on probation without risking prison for the offense you are on probation for)
You have to promptly and truthfully answer all inquiries directed to you by the Court or the Probation Officer, and you will comply with all
instructions they may give you.
There are special drug and sex offender requirements.
The court may impose other conditions, related to the offense.

There may also be Special Conditions of probation that apply to specific cases, such as:
Drug Counseling, for drug offenses
DUI school, for  DUI offenses
Anger Management/ Domestic Violence Intervention, for battery cases and
DNA sample submission, for certain offenses
and failure to comply with these terms means a violation of probation.

If your are accused of violating you probation,
you run the risk of having your probation revoked and being sentenced to jail or prison.
A judge will sign a VOP warrant for your arrest.
Once you are brought into county jail, you will generally be kept there without bond.

Violation of Probation in Florida, generally:

A violation of probation and VOP Hearing under Florida law is very different than being charged with a new crime,
because the person has already been sentenced on the offense.
Probation gives the court continuing authority to sentence the probationer to the maximum allowed by law.
A probationer has less legal protection than when they were were charged with a new crime, because-
they waived many constitutional rights by entering a plea, or
have been found guilty and lost many rights by law.

Special VOP issues:
There is no statute of limitations, you can’t wait out the VOP;
There is no automatic right to a bond on a VOP, while waiting a probation violation hearing;
There is no right to jury trial in a violation of probation hearing;
Hearsay is admissible against the probationer;
A probationer may be forced to testify against yourself in some instances;
Guilt on a new law violation and of a violation does not have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

It is generally much easier for the State Attorney’s Office to prove a violation of probation than a new offense.  However, there are defenses to a Violation of Probation. The Rabby Law Firm strives to successfully defend clients accused of violation of probation in Pensacola and the surrounding areas.

There are two types of probation violations:
Technical Violation; or
Substantive Violation (New-Law Violation)

A Florida technical violation of probation can be any violation of a general or special condition of probation, that is not a new law violation or arrest.
Examples of technical violations include:
Failure to pay fines and costs if you do not have the financial ability to pay them,
Failing to complete counseling, and
Being late to a probation meeting with your probation officer

Under Florida law, substantive violations of probation occur when a person commits a new criminal offense. Importantly, even if the new criminal charge is dismissed or the defendant acquitted at trial, a prosecutor can still try to “prove-up” the offense at a VOP hearing. And, unlike a criminal trial, the burden of proof is only a “preponderance of the evidence” and there is no right to a jury.

Upon a violation of probation a judge can, reinstate, modify or revoke the probation.
If a Florida judge revokes probation, Florida law allows the judge to impose the maximum penalty for the charge for which you were placed on probation.

Defenses to a charge of violating probation may include:
Actual innocence;
Full compliance;
Inability or impossibility to comply with the terms of probation, and
Failure to prove the VOP allegation (insufficient evidence).

Other Issues:
What happens if you cannot get in touch with your probation officer?
  The probationer is required to stay in contact with probation officer and report as directed to them.
If you cannot get in touch with your actual probation officer, then go to the probation office in person
and ask to speak with the duty officer or supervisor.
Make sure that you can get something signed saying you were there and take a witness.
Do not drive to probation if your license is suspended.
This is a new law violation and you may get arrested on the spot.
Lying to your probation officer will get you arrested.

If you have been charged with violation of probation in Pensacola or Milton, Florida, contact Chris Rabby to discuss the particular facts of your misdemeanor or felony violation of probation case.

Your freedom is your priority — and ours.

Call us at 850-437-9410 or contact us online now!