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What is Probation?

Florida offenders performed more than 1.3 million hours of community service between 2014 and 2015. Probation is one of the many consequences that can happen after someone has committed a crime.

Understanding probation is vital to understanding criminal law in Florida. As Florida defense attorneys, we want you to know what this is, and what that means for you.

Understanding Probation

A judge may hand down a probation sentence as opposed to a stint in prison. This alternative to jail includes formal supervision. People on probation must closely follow court-ordered rules, such as performing community service, meeting probation officers, and avoiding certain people or places.

The exact nature of someone’s probation depends on the crime they committed. For example, someone who drove drunk may be entirely banned from using alcohol and will be required to attend alcohol abuse therapy sessions. Typically, probation will last between 1 and 3 years. Just like the nature of probation, the length hinges on what crime was committed. More serious crimes mean guilty people have to serve longer periods on probation.

Types of Probation

In Florida, there are five types of probation: administrative, standard, drug offender, sex offender, and community control.  

Standard probation is fairly straightforward. Generally, those who serve this sentence must meet their probation officers, and follow the guidelines outlined for them. Administrative probation is similar, but there is no requirement to regularly meet with a probation officer.

Sex offender probation requires people to follow a specific treatment plan. Offenders may take classes on how to deal with their urges in a better way and may be required to avoid specific people. Drug offender probation calls for people to stick to a treatment program. Lawbreakers may be subject to random drug tests.

Community control is more commonly known as house arrest. Convicts are restricted to a single residence and might be carefully monitored by probation officers. Electronic surveillance, otherwise known as an ankle monitor, could be used to carefully watch over the guilty party.

Punishments for Violating Probation

When someone violates the terms of their probation, they face grave consequences. Depending on the nature of the violation, the probation officer may choose to issue a warning. If they are not so lenient, the guilty party will face a probation violation hearing.

Should a judge rule against you, they may impose additional fines, send you to counseling, or even send you to jail. The court sends people to jail if it believes that someone committed a crime willfully, which is to say that they knowingly and intentionally did it.

What to Expect While on Probation

If a judge puts you on probation, it can be rough, but there are punishments which are far more severe. It is a good idea to find a job with a flexible work schedule so that you can regularly meet with your probation officer and attend any classes you might need to take. Sometimes, a judge will sentence you to pay fines as restitution. Careful budgeting is a must.

The Berman Law Group has experienced Florida defense attorneys who can help you today. Call us if you have any questions about probation at (800) 883-5206Contact us for a free consultation. Our attorneys have the skills, talents, and resources you need to get yourself out of hot water.