FAQ: Tampa Probation Violations

If you’ve been accused of violating a term of your probation in Tampa or the surrounding areas, call Metcalf Falls, Criminal Defense Attorneys, P.A.

Brett is an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands how easy it is to slip up while on probation. He also understands that probation officers aren’t always understanding and willing to give second chances.

You have to be ready to stand up for yourself. That means working with an experienced attorney to defend against alleged probation violations. Call (813) 258-4800 or use the online form 24/7 to request a free consultation.

What is probation?

Probation is a period of court-supervised autonomy. You live and work where you choose, but your behavior is closely monitored by a probation officer with the Office of Community Corrections. You can be granted probation in addition to or instead of incarceration.

It’s possible to receive probation for drug offenses, certain violent crimes, domestic abuse, DUIs, and other offenses. While on probation, you have to satisfy several conditions, and if you violate one, you can be penalized.

Are probation and parole the same thing?

No, parole is an early release from jail or prison. It’s different from probation, which is court supervision. Probation is still a criminal penalty, though less severe than incarceration. If you are paroled from jail or prison, you might be placed on probation.

Are there levels of probation?

Florida has several levels of probation, including administrative (non-reporting probation), reporting, sex offender, drug offender, and community control.

Administrative probation is the least severe, and you don’t have to meet with a probation officer. Community control is the strictest form of probation. You’d know it as house arrest. All levels of probation require certain conditions.

What are some common probation conditions?

A court can impose many types of restrictions as part of probation, including:

  • Report to a probation supervisor directly
  • Make payments for the cost of supervision
  • Allow a probation officer to visit your home, workplace, and other locations
  • Remain within a specific geographic area, such as a state or county
  • Abide by all federal and state laws
  • Stay employed or have an on-going job search
  • Go through substance abuse, alcohol abuse, or other mental health treatment
  • Submit to random drug and alcohol testing
  • Pay victim restitution
  • Financial support your dependents
  • Do not hang out with people engaged in criminal activity
  • Do not possess, own, or carry a firearm
  • Do not use any controlled substance other than a lawful prescription
  • Perform community service

Are there types of probation conditions?

There are standard and special probation conditions. Standard conditions include following the law, not drinking or using drugs, keeping a job, and staying in the state. They focus on good, law-abiding behavior.

Special conditions are those a judge included based on your circumstances, such as going through a substance abuse recovery program or taking anger management classes.

What is a probation violation?

A probation violation is a willful and substantial failure to comply with one or more terms of your probation. To do something willful means you did it on purpose. Your actions were intentional.

Substantial means the violation was important. For example, not showing up to a meeting with your probation officer is a violation, whereas getting stuck in traffic and being 15 minutes late is not.

Are there different types of probation violations?

Probation violations are considered technical or substantive. A technical violation happens when you violate a standard or special condition of your probation. A substantive violation is when you commit a new crime while on probation.

What are some common probation violations?

Common violations that get people into trouble are failing drug tests, missing appointments with their probation officer, failing to pay fees or restitution, failing to complete required programs, like mental health counseling or rehab, or violating a restraining order. But any violation your probation officer believes was intentional can send you back to court.

What happens if I violate a probation condition?

Violations are handled on a case-by-case basis. Your probation officer can do several things when they learn of a violation. They might issue you a warning, make a warrantless arrest, or pursue an arrest warrant.

Unless you receive a warning, you’ll go through a probation violation hearing. It’s not a full trial. You have no right to a bond or a jury. The rules of evidence and standard of proof are different—a prosecutor doesn’t have to prove you’re guilty of the violation beyond a reasonable doubt. Because of these lower, informal procedures, it’s essential you have a lawyer.

What are the penalties for probation violations?

The judge presiding over your probation violation hearing has discretion in how to punish you. For serious issues, the judge could revoke your probation and send you to jail or prison. The judge might increase the length of time you have to be on probation. Or the judge can add new conditions.

It’s important to work with a lawyer who will fight allegations of probation violations and work to mitigate the consequences of a violation. It can be difficult to keep up with what you can and can’t do when the judge changes the terms of your probation.

Will I go to jail for a probation violation?

If this is a second or subsequent violation or a serious violation, you’re more likely to go through a hearing and be punished. If you were on probation instead of in jail or prison, the judge could revoke your probation. You might have to serve the entire sentence for the crime you had probation for. If you committed a new offense, then you might be jailed while awaiting your next trial.

Can I end my probation early?

If you have not violated your probation, and you’ve paid all fines and fees, then talk with Metcalf Falls, Criminal Defense Attorneys, P.A., about filing a Motion for Early Termination of Probation. A lawyer can craft a compelling argument for why a judge should end your supervision early.