TAMPA PROBATION VIOLATION ATTORNEY
Representing the Accused of Violating Probation in Hillsborough & Pinellas Counties
Violating any of the terms of your probation is a serious matter that you should take seriously. While probation violation may not sound like a significant offense, it can lead to severe consequences and should never be written off or disregarded.
Buda Law is ready to help you address any allegations of a probation violation with experienced legal representation and support. Attorney Andrew Buda has experience working as a Pinellas County prosecutor and knows how prosecutors approach probation violation cases. As a result, we understand how to fight back and seek a positive outcome for the accused.
What are the Different Types of Probation in Florida?
If a judge decides an offender does not pose a threat to the community, they can order probation. Supervised release can be an option for individuals with no criminal history, or it can be ordered in addition to jail time for misdemeanor or felony cases. Judges cannot sentence individuals to probation that have been convicted of capital felonies like murder. Judges tend to favor supervised release when deciding whether probation is appropriate if an individual has not been arrested before or was convicted of a minor offense. Judges determine the appropriate form of probation based on the crime the offender has committed and their criminal history. Listed below are several different types of probation.
Individuals who have committed misdemeanor offenses can be ordered to serve probation for their crime instead of prison time, especially if this is their first offense. These probation terms are less strict and involve fewer meetings with probation officers. Offenders serving misdemeanor probation can be subject to random drug tests and home visits and are expected to keep a job. Other misdemeanor probation terms are listed below under Florida’s Basic Terms of Probation.
Felony probation is much stricter than misdemeanor probation. Offenders sentenced to felony probation are supervised more intensely and must meet with their probation officer more frequently. The court may also require a felony offender to complete a rigorous rehabilitation program like anger management or drug rehab. Offenders will still need to pay fines, court costs, and restitution under felony probation. Community service is also required but will have a higher number of service hours than misdemeanor probation. Individuals serving felony probation will also need to keep a steady job.
Sex Offender Probation
An offender convicted of a sexual offense can be sentenced to a lengthy probation period that involves closer supervision than the usual probation sentence and also involves treatment. Sex offender probation can include the following conditions:
- A mandatory curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
- Enroll in a sex offender treatment program
- No contact with the victim
- No contact with anyone under the age of 18 unless court approved
- The offender cannot live within 1,000 feet of a school, daycare, park, playground, or any other place the children congregate regularly
- The offender cannot work or volunteer with children
- Do not view, own, or possess any obscene, pornographic, or otherwise sexually stimulating material
- Provide a DNA sample to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to be registered in the DNA data bank
- No internet or computer access until a sex offender treatment program is completed and a risk assessment is approved
- Restitution for the victim
- Submit to polygraph exams
- Submit to HIV testing
- Electronic monitoring
- Pay court costs, fines, and other expenses
- Submit to random drug tests
- Driving and travel restrictions
- Community service
Drug Offender Probation
Drug offender probation is an intense supervision sentence. This type of probation usually includes entering a substance abuse program and random drug testing. Drug offender probation can also be ordered if the offender committed crimes such as theft, dealing in stolen property, or other crimes if the offender did so because of a drug addiction.
What are the Basic Terms of Probation in Florida?
Florida Statutes Section 948.03 outlines the standard terms and conditions of probation in Florida. The court has the freedom to add or modify these conditions to an extent, but the basic terms are as follows:
- Reporting to your probation officer on a regular basis
- Letting your probation officer visit your home, place of employment, and other sites you frequently visit
- Keep a job while under probation
- Pay restitution to anyone you harmed by the crime you committed
- Financially support your legal dependents
- Staying within the area specified by the court – state, country, city, etc.
- Avoid breaking the law
- Refraining from controlled substance use unless doctor prescribed
- Avoiding anyone involved in criminal activity, including old friends
- Random drug testing and alcohol testing
- Not possessing or using firearms
Examples of Probation Violations in Florida
Under Florida law, probation violations occur when you willfully and substantially fail to comply with the conditions of your probation. Willful and substantial violations must be shown by the state through the “greater weight of evidence.” This is a lower standard of proof than required in other cases where the prosecutor must prove his claims beyond a reasonable doubt. Because it is much easier to be found guilty of a probation violation at a hearing, it is more critical than ever that you have a strong Tampa probation violation attorney on your side in court.
Common probation violations are:
- Getting arrested for a new crime
- Failing a drug test
- Failing to complete a mandatory drug treatment program or diversion program
- Failing to pay fines, fees, court costs, restitution, or other financial obligations
- Failing to appear at a scheduled meeting with your probation officer
What Happens When You Are Accused of Violating Probation?
If you’ve been accused of violating your probation, an Affidavit of Violation is submitted to the court. Once the hearing is complete, the judge can rule one of three ways: reinstate your probation, modify your probation with more severe terms, or deny your probation and send you back to jail. This ruling is not only dependent on the information in the Affidavit, but the judge also considers the testimony of your parole officer and other witnesses.
While returning to jail is not always the outcome of violating probation, it happens more frequently to those offenders that do not hire a probation violation lawyer to represent them. Having an experienced attorney accompany you to your probation hearing is vital to your case and can mean the difference between remaining under probation or returning to jail. If you have been accused of violating your probation, contact a Tampa probation violation lawyer at Buda Law at 813-322-2832 today to schedule a free case evaluation.
Probation Violation Penalties
The penalties for probation violations can be severe, causing you to lose your freedom and significantly impacting your future. Not only can you be ordered to pay more in restitution, but you could also face more restrictions. For example, an offender serving probation for a first-degree misdemeanor can be required to serve a year in jail and be fined $1,000 for a probation violation. Someone serving a second-degree felony who violates probation can be sentenced to up to 15 years of jail time.
What to Expect at a Probation Violation Hearing?
At your hearing, the court has broad discretion in deciding how to punish you. Generally, it has three options: to reinstate your probation, to alter your probation, or to revoke it. If your probation is revoked, you could be facing the maximum sentence available for the original charge that led to your probation.
Facing charges for violating your probation? Discuss your case with a Tampa probation violation lawyer. Contact Buda Law at 813-322-2832 today.