Tampa Probation Violation Lawyer

Being released from prison early is not necessarily a free pass. Conditional release comes with specific terms you must follow, and your probation officer (PO) must report any violations to the releasing authority. If you violated probation, the court or the Department of Corrections could revoke your release and send you to jail.

When you face dire consequences for a probation violation in Florida, contact Metcalf Falls, Criminal Defense Attorneys, P.A. at 813-258-4800 to learn how we can defend you.

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Florida Community Supervision Programs

Florida courts and the Department of Corrections use community supervision programs to punish minor crimes, reduce jail and prison populations, and transition inmates back into the community. These programs include probation, parole, and conditional release, allowing you to work and live at home instead of being incarcerated.

When you receive probation, parole, or conditional release, the judge or the Department of Corrections will inform you of your conditions. You must meet with a PO from the Office of Community Corrections. The PO will review your conditions with you. You will then sign a document stating you understand and agree to abide by your conditions.

What Is a Probation Violation in Florida?

A probation violation happens when you fail to meet the conditions of your release. Some common conditions include:

  • Keeping your PO informed of your address and employment at all times
  • Remaining in Florida unless you receive permission to travel from your PO
  • Not committing any new crimes
  • Reporting all contact with police officers to your PO

Depending on your charges, you may have additional conditions, such as passing drug tests and attending substance abuse treatment.

Common Probation Violations

Two of the most common probation violations come from being in the wrong place. The first happens when you are not where you are supposed to be. For example, if you fail to inform your PO before you sleep over at a friend’s home or travel out of town to visit relatives, you may have violated your probation.

A common variation of this violation happens when you break curfew. Breaking curfew without informing your PO could trigger a probation violation even if you were at work or stuck in traffic.

The second happens when you are somewhere you should not be. Depending on your charges, a judge might block you from contacting codefendants or victims. If your charges included sex crimes, you might not be permitted near schools. When your PO finds you somewhere you are not allowed, you may get hit with a violation.

What Happens if You’re Accused of Violating Probation?

Your PO will first notify you of the violation. In some cases, you could be arrested and taken to jail immediately. You will remain in jail until you bail out or receive a judicial hearing.

Your Tampa probation violation lawyer can present your defense at this hearing. If a judge finds no violation, you will get released to resume your probation. If the judge finds a violation, you could face a range of penalties, including incarceration.

Not all violations result in jail time. Sometimes, the PO may simply allow the violation to slide. They may enter certain violations in your record but not impose any punishment. Finally, the PO may impose administrative punishment that does not require a court hearing. For example, they may impose a curfew or take away privileges, such as overnight travel.

Penalties for Violating Probation in Tampa

Judges have fairly wide discretion in punishing probation violations. Some possible outcomes include:

  • Extending your probation so you can try again
  • Modifying your probation to impose new conditions
  • Revoking your probation and sending you to jail to complete your sentence

Keep in mind that if your violation produced new criminal charges, you could face additional punishments.

Can Probation Be Modified or Revoked?

A judge can revoke your probation and send you to jail. This usually happens when the judge does not believe you can comply with the conditions required for community release. Some situations where this might happen include getting charged with a new crime, absconding, or committing multiple probation violations.

Suppose your Tampa probation violation defense lawyer convinces the judge that you have truly attempted to comply with your conditions. In that case, the judge may modify your probation instead of revoking it by:

  • Adding time to your probation or restarting the term
  • Imposing new conditions, such as requiring substance abuse treatment
  • Changing existing conditions, like expanding the list of people you cannot contact

Your punishment may depend on how your probation violation lawyer in Tampa defends you.

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Defending Against Probation Violations in Florida

Defending against a probation violation will typically involve some or all of the following:

  • Rebutting the PO’s affidavit that the violation happened
  • Presenting defenses explaining why the violation occurred
  • Showing contrition for the violation and seeking another chance

To rebut the affidavit, your violation of probation lawyer in Tampa will force the prosecution to provide evidence of the PO’s allegations and present evidence rebutting it. For example, suppose the PO alleged that you were not home. Your lawyer might defend you by showing that you were at home but too sick to answer the door.

Many defenses involve showing that you lacked the intent to violate your conditions. Thus, you might defend against a drug test violation by showing that your prescription medication caused a false positive.

Finally, whenever you appear in court for a probation violation, you should show the judge you have the ability and desire to continue your probation.

Contact a Florida Probation Violation Attorney

A probation violation can delay you from completing your sentence. It may even result in incarceration. Contact Metcalf Falls, Criminal Defense Attorneys, P.A. at 813-258-4800 to learn how we can help you defend against a probation violation accusation.

Frequently Asked Questions