||Violation of Probation|
Tampa Violation of Probation Lawyer
If you believe that your probation officer is going to accuse you of violating your felony or misdemeanor probation, then contact an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. For violation of probation cases in Hillsborough County, FL, our attorneys are experienced in fighting for the best possible result.
If you are facing an allegation for a probation violation then you are not alone. Crime statistics show that as of December 1, 2010, the Florida Department of Corrections listed approximately 118,000 people who were on active felony probation. Of those, nearly 30,000 probationers had allegations of a probation violation pending. The number of individuals on misdemeanor probation with pending probation violations are even higher.
Contact us today to discuss your case with an attorney over the phone or in the office. During the free initial consultation you can discuss with an attorney all of the things you may need to do right now to protect yourself against the allegation. Call 813-250-0500 to call directly to an attorney about your case today.
Avoiding the Typical Result in a Florida VOP Case
Typically, after the Florida probation officer makes an allegation of violation of probation, the judge will sign a warrant for your arrest. The arrest warrant for a violation of probation (VOP) usually has a "no bond" provision, meaning that unless you retain an attorney to resolve your case quickly or obtain a bond, you may be sitting in jail for weeks or months until your Florida probation violation case is resolved.
As a result, it is common for people who believe they will be arrested for violation of probation to stop reporting to their probation officer. Failing to report to your probation officer, however, makes the matter worse by causing additional grounds for the violation. If the court knows that you failed to report, the court may be less inclined to give you another chance at successfully completing your probation when you are eventually picked up on the warrant and brought before the judge.
If you believe that your probation officer may allege that you violated probation, you should contact an experienced attorney who fights violation of probation cases in Tampa, FL. At the Sammis Law Firm, P.A., we represent men and women charged with violation of probation cases in Tampa and Plant City for Hillsborough County, and the surrounding counties, including Pinellas County, Polk County, Pasco County, Hernando County and Manatee County.
What Our Attorneys Can Do to Help You After a Probation Violation
- Your attorney can contact your probation officer on your behalf and request additional time to allow you to come into compliance with the terms of your probation before the violation affidavit is submitted to the court.
- In other cases, your Tampa criminal defense attorney can file a "motion for surrender" which may allow you to turn yourself in on the Florida warrant in the courtroom where the judge can set a reasonable bond in the case, dismiss the allegation or release you on your own recognizances (ROR), which might allow you to avoid going into custody altogether.
- Alternatively, an attorney can arrange for you to turn yourself in on the violation of probation warrant at the jail, and then represent you at your first appearance hearing which can take place the next morning after you surrender yourself to the jail.
- Additionally, your Tampa criminal defense attorney can schedule an emergency bond hearing to give you the best chance at having your case resolved quickly if you are not released after your first appearance. If your case can not be resolved in a favorable manner, your attorney can request that the court set a reasonable bond so that you can be released from custody to come into compliance with any outstanding terms prior to your next court date.
If you are taken into custody on a Florida violation of probation warrant, your attorney can immediately file an emergency motion for bond on your behalf. In many cases, an attorney can help get you back in front of the judge in days instead of weeks.
Even if the court is not inclined to grant bond, the court may be inclined to resolve the case that day by simply reinstating the probation, thereby giving you another chance to successfully complete the probation. Contact a Tampa Probation Violation Attorney to discuss your case today by calling 813-250-0500.
Article last updated on June 9, 2013.
An Overview of Florida's Probation Violation Laws:
· Technical Violations and Substantive Probation Violations
· Violation of Probation Hearings in Hillsborough County
· Violation of Probation Hearings Generally
· Reasons for a Violation of Probation Allegation
· Consequences of a Violation of Probation Finding
· Conclusion on VOP Cases
Technical Violations and Substantive Probation Violations
Violations of probation can be divided into two categories: technical violations and substantive violations.
- A technical violation is when you are alleged to have violated a technical condition of your probation, such as paying restitution, fines or court costs, completing community service, meeting with your probation officer, not leaving the jurisdiction, etc.
- A substantive violation occurs when you are arrested on a new law violation including a felony or a misdemeanor criminal offense.
The Circuit and County Courts throughout the State of Florida, each have different policies and procedures for handling accusations for violation of probation. For example, a motion to surrender may be available for a misdemeanor or felony violation of probation in Hillsborough County, but not for a particular judge in Pinellas, Pasco or Polk County. Call to discuss the particular facts and circumstances of your case with an experienced Tampa Probation Attorney to find out more about how your particular jurisdiction might handle the case.
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Violation of Probation hearings in Hillsborough County
In Hillsborough County, the vast majority of felony violation of probation accusations for technical violations or a substantive violation resulting from an arrest for any misdemeanor offense are handled in Division K by the Honorable Daniel L. Perry.
The clerk’s office has estimated that in 2006, Judge Perry disposed of 7,641 violation of probation cases, of which 1,234 violators went to prison. Division K was created in order to have one courtroom in Hillsborough County, Florida, to deal with the vast majority of violation of probation cases in a more expedited manner.
Dubbed the "Excuse Court" by the local media in Hillsborough County, Judge Perry has heard every excuse. Because he handles so many violation of probation cases, he can quickly access information about the case from the bench including the probation officer's file, jail records, inmate visitation records, and criminal history information on the defendant and other people that associate with the defendant.
If you sit in the courtroom long enough you will be amazed at the number of individuals that lie to the court and then admit the lie when confronted. If you choose to speak to the court about the allegations, be truthful. If you hire an attorney, be truthful with the attorney when discussing the facts of the case.
The key to obtaining the best result in a violation of probation case is not just having an excuse, but being able to prove through relevant documents and testimony the reasons for the violation and solutions to make sure no future violations occur. For more information on felony violation of probation cases in Hillsborough County, Florida, read this recent article which gives you a glimpse at a typical day in the violation of probation division
"Got a good reason for violating probation? This judge has heard them all. Welcome to Excuse Court." By COLLEEN JENKINS , Published in the St. Petersburg Times on June 24, 2007.
The fact that these Hillsborough County violation of probation cases are expedited does not always work in the defendant’s favor. Most violation of probation cases are resolved with an "admission" that the defendant violated probation. Many defendants are not aware of legal defenses that exist in their particular case.
For example, the violation must be "willful" and "substantial," as opposed in inadvertent and trivial. Additionally, even in those cases where entering an "admission" is in the best interest of the person accused, the outcome may be far better when an experienced attorney can present mitigating or favorable information to the court about your case.
Perhaps most importantly, a private attorney in Hillsborough County can file a motion to have your violation of probation case put on the judge's calendar much faster than it would otherwise be heard. For many cases, after the arrest the defendant may sit in jail for three weeks before his first court date. A private attorney an often put the case on the calendar the next business day after the attorney is retained.
Obtaining the best results for a Violation of Probation in Hillsborough County, FL, often occurs when the defendant immediately surrenders himself on the warrant, and has worked with a Tampa probation violation attorney to explain how the violation occurred and present a plan to the court to ensure that no future violations will occur if probation is reinstated.
Most other counties in the Tampa Bay area, including Pinellas County, Polk County, Pasco County, Manatee County, and Sarasota County have similar procedures for violation of probation cases. Click here for more information on how the Florida Anti-Murder Act impacts bond hearings and violation of probation cases in Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Polk County, Hernando County, Manatee County, and Sarasota County.
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Violation of Probation Hearings
In a violation of probation case, there is no jury trial and the burden of proof is merely a preponderance of the evidence (not the higher "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" standard). Consequently, prosecutors may have a much easier time winning a violation of probation hearing then winning a case during a jury trial.
If you are found to be in violation of your probation, either after a hearing or after entering an "admission," the court can sentence you to any sentence that could have originally been imposed, which means that you can receive the statutory maximum sentence for that particular offense or offenses.
For example, on a third degree felony, such as possession of a controlled substance, you could receive five (5) years in Florida State Prison for violating your probation, even if the violation was merely for a technical violation. However, the court has other options besides prison. For example, the court can modify your probation to lengthen the term of probation or to add provisions for a more intensive drug treatment program or additional community service hours.
The Florida Department of Corrections supervises different types of probation, including community control, sex offender probation, and drug offender probation. If you have been arrested for violating probation, violating sex offender probation, or violating drug offender probation, contact an experienced Tampa Probation Attorney to discuss your case.
Defenses to a Violation of Probation Affidavit
An experienced Tampa Probation Attorney can discuss with you defenses that can be asserted during a Violation of Probation Hearing. A violation of probation or a violation of community control can only occur when the violation is willful, deliberate and substantial.
The trial court is required to review each allegation of violation on a case-by-case basis to determine under the particular facts and circumstances of the case, whether a particular violation is willful and substantial by the greater weight of the evidence.
If the Florida Probation Violation Attorney can show the court that the defendant has made reasonable efforts to comply with the terms and conditions of probation, then the individual may not be found in violation of probation. The violation of probation in Florida is not willful or substantial if the individual makes good faith and reasonable efforts to comply with the conditions of probation, but fails to comply because of some factor out of the individual's control such as a medical emergency or mental illness.
The violation of probation may not be willful if the individual was told or otherwise lead to believe that his probation was over, and that he was no longer required to report.
The failure to submit one monthly report or to submit the report late may not be substantial when the individual is otherwise in compliance with the terms of his Florida probation. A curfew violation may not be a substantial violation of probation if the individual was not at his Florida residence at the required time due to unexpected car trouble or other circumstance out of his control. Find out more about the Order of Probation.
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Violations of Probation can occur for any of the following reasons:
- Failure to Report to the Probation Officer;
- Failure to Pay Court Costs, Fine, Restitution or Costs of Supervision;
- Failure to be Truthful to the Probation Officer;
- Failure to Complete Community Service Hours;
- Failure to Follow the Instructions of the Probation Officer;
- Failure to Obtain the Probation Officer's Permission Prior to Moving from an Approved Residence;
- Failure to Obtain the Probation Officer's Permission Prior to Changing Employment;
- Failure to Comply with the Terms of Curfew;
- Failure to Obtain the Probation Officer's Permission to Leave the County;
- Failure to Successfully Complete a Counseling Program such as Anger Management or the Batterer's Intervention Program;
- Violation for a New Misdemeanor Violation;
- Violation of a County Ordinance;
- Substantive Violation for New Felony Arrest-
A substantive violation can occur if the defendant is arrested on a new felony offense. If felony charges are formally filed by the State Attorney's Office, then the defendant will answer the violation of probation charges before the felony division in which the defendant was originally sentenced.
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Some of the Consequences of Being Found in Violation of Probation Can Include
The court usually has many different options if the probationer is found to be in violation. Those options include:
- WORSE CASE: The Court can revoke and terminate the probation, adjudicate you guilty of the underlying offense (enter a conviction) and impose a sentence of jail or prison time which can be up to the statutory maximum for the offense, which was the maximum punishment that you could have received at sentencing if you had not been sentenced to probation.
- BEST CASE: The court can dismiss the allegation of violation of probation.
- OTHER OPTIONS: The Court can find you in for violation, extend time that you are on probation, and impose additional special conditions, such as additional community service, counseling, drug residential program with follow up treatment.
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The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm, P.A., are ready to assist you with your Violation of Probation case. Our Tampa Criminal Lawyers handle Violation of Probation cases in Pinellas County, Polk County, Sarasota County, Manatee County, Pasco County, and the surrounding areas.
We represent clients accused of felony violations of probation and misdemeanor violations of probation. Whether the underlying offense was DUI, domestic battery, drug charges, shoplifting or theft charges, contact us today for a free consultation. A violation of probation charge is serious and requires an attorney familiar with the violation of probation procedures used by the judge that you will see for your violation of probation hearing.
Find out more about a Violation of Probation in a DUI Case. If you are interested in terminating your probation early or modifying the terms of your probation to remove a special condition, please visit our section on Early Termination of Probation. Call us at 813-250-0500 to discuss the particular facts of your case.
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Resources for Individuals on Misdemeanor Probation in Florida
Hillsborough County Misdemeanor Probation Office - The Salvation Army Correctional Services runs the Misdemeanor Probation Program for Hillsborough County, Florida, with offices in Tampa and Plant City. In Tampa, the misdemeanor probation program is located at:Misdemeanor Probation Office in Tampa, FL1603 N. Florida Ave.Tampa, FL 33602Phone number (813) 223-3781.
In Plant City, the misdemeanor probation program is located at:802 W. Martin Luther King Blvd.Plant City, FL 33563Phone number (813) 754-4146
Pinellas County Misdemeanor Probation Office - The Salvation Army Correctional Services runs the Misdemeanor Probation Program for Pinellas County, Florida, with offices in Clearwater and St. Petersburg. In Clearwater, the misdemeanor probation program is located at the following location:
Misdemeanor Probation Office in ClearwaterCriminal Justice CenterRoom 14001st Floor14250 49th St. N.Clearwater, FL 33762Phone number: (727) 464-6250
The misdemeanor probation office for Pinellas North County Office is located at the following address:Misdemeanor Porbation Office for North County Traffic CourtNorth County Office855 S. Highland Ave.Clearwater, FL 33756(727) 442-8150
The misdemeanor program for Pinellas County South County Office is located at the following address: Misdemeanor Probation Office for South County Traffic Court4950 34th St. NorthSt. Petersburg, FL 33714Phone number: (727) 520-1206
Pasco County Misdemeanor Probation Office - The Misdemeanor Probation Program in New Port Richey and Dade City, Pasco County, Florida. 7517 Little Road, Suite A, New Port Richey, FL 34654. The Pasco County misdemeanor probation phone number in New Port Richey is (727) 834-3300 and in Dade City is (352) 521-4250. The Pasco County probation office, which began operation January 1, 1993, estimates that each year it supervises approximately 14,400 people in the New Port Richey office and 6,000 people in the Dade City office.
Polk County Misdemeanor Probation Office - The main office of the Misdmeanor Probation Program in Polk County, Florida is located in Bartow at Fleet Lane Building 305 N. Jackson Avenue Bartow, Florida 33830, and the phone number is (863) 534-4125 or (863) 534-0895. The Lakeland Polk County Government Center is located at 930 E. Parker St., Room 292 Lakeland, FL 33801, and the phone number is (863) 603-6431 x254 or (863) 284-4241. The Winter Haven Northeast Polk County Government Center at 3425 Lake Alfred Road, #6, Gil Jones Plaza, Winter Haven, FL 33881-1405 and the phone number is (863) 401-2417.
Manatee County Misdemeanor Probation Office - The main office of the Misdemeanor Probation Program in Manatee County is located in Bradenton at 1112 Manatee Avenue West, Suite 303, Bradenton, FL 34205, and the phone number is (941) 749-3051.
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Videos on Probation Violations under Florida Law