When it comes to Florida law, a Violation of Probation (VOP) is defined as a criminal defendant violating the terms of his or her probationary punishment. If you are accused of violating your probation, it is a very serious matter, and you should be aware of the steps you should take in order to avoid any further potential penalties.
People who violate probations have the potential to face some strict consequences. However, depending on what your violation is and the terms of your probation, there is a chance of being rearrested on top of you losing the freedom you worked hard to earn. Keep reading to learn what happens when you violate probation in Florida.
Ways Probation Can Be Violated
Probation violation laws are ruled by federal and state law, and they differ from state-to-state. In most cases, a violation of probation happens when someone either avoids, ignores, refuses or breaks the terms of his or probation conditions during any given time of his or her probationary period.
On average, a probationary period usually lasts from one year to three, but it varies depending on each crime. One’s probation can be violated in numerous ways.
Situations that could be in violation of probation include:
- Refusing to pay different mandatory fines or restitution that were ordered by a court
- Traveling to different places or visiting specific people without asking permission from your probation officer
- Not meeting your probation officer on your scheduled day, time and place
- Committing other illegal offenses or crimes
- Having illegal drugs in your possession, using or selling them
- Getting arrested for any reason whatsoever, whether for criminal purposes or not
- Skipping a scheduled court appearance
After Probation is Violated
Step 1 - Court Appearance Warning or Request
No rules are set in stone that determine what should immediately happen once probation is violated. Most probation officers have the power to issue a mere warning or mandate that you appear in court for a hearing, but it depends on the level of your probationary violation. There is no set rule as to what happens immediately after a probation violation is reported. If you go to court, your probation officer may ask for a consequence of sorts, which could range from community service to serving time in jail.
Step 2 - Determining if Probation was Violated
During your probation hearing, a judge will take different factors into consideration to determine whether or not your probation was violated. – such as the nature of the violation, and/or your previous criminal history.
Step 3 - Being Sentenced
If you are found guilty of probation violation, sentencing will occur shortly after your probation hearing. During this time, the court can revoke or increase your probation time as well as put you in jail or give you additional consequences. Various elements a sentencing judge may weigh while deciding your sentence include but are not limited to, your criminal history and the seriousness of your violation.
Consequences for Violating Probation
When it comes to the various consequences one can suffer from violating probation, there are a plethora of different events that can happen.
Among these include:
- Warning – A warning from your probation officer is likely if it is your first time violating probation.
- Rehabilitation – If drugs or alcohol were involved in your probation violation – whether you failed a drug test or had something in your possession – you may be ordered to spend time in rehab. Refusal to do so could lead to jail time.
- Fines – Sometimes you may be expected to pay extra fines, whether it’s to the victim of the original crime or to the court itself.
- Community Service – A probation officer may order community service hours to be completed.
- New Charges – New charges could be filed against you if your probation violation involved committing a new crime.
- Prison Time – Prison time for probation violations are usually short-lived, depending on the violation that occurred.
- Increased Probationary Period – If your probation officer doesn’t feel you’re ready to leave probation just yet, your probation period may be extended.
- Revoking Probation – Your probation may be revoked by a judge.
- Counseling – If your probation officer notices there are other problems involved that could have caused your probation violation, such as mental issues, you may be ordered to go to counseling services, such as therapy.
If you or a loved one is in legal trouble for violating probation, make sure that you are seeking experienced legal counsel that can help you during this time. The Berman Law Group has the driven, dedicated and experienced South Florida criminal defense attorneys ready to help you, no matter your probation situation.
Call us today at (800) 375-5555 for a free consultation.