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Violation of Probation Lawyer for Pinellas County

Many people agree to be supervised on probation or community control in order to resolve their case quickly. After starting probation or community control, however, the person realizes that completing all the terms of probation are difficult, time consuming, and expensive. Even a small technical mistake can lead to an arrest or incarceration if the probation officer alleges a violation of the terms.

If you believe your probation officer will violate your probation, then act quickly to retain a criminal defense attorney experienced in fighting these cases in Pinellas County, FL, and the Sixth Judicial Circuit. The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm represent clients for felony or misdemeanor probation in Clearwater or St. Petersburg in Pinellas County, Florida. If you believe that the probation officer is about to allege that you violated probation then call us today to discuss your case.

The Probation Officers, Judges, and Prosecutors with the State Attorney's Office for the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Pinellas County move quickly in violation of probation (VOP) and violation of community control (VOCC) cases. You should also hire a criminal defense attorney quickly to assist you. Find out more about how VOP cases are handled in Pinellas County including important procedural protections and defenses that may help you resolve your case for the best possible terms.

If you live outside of Florida, an extradition warrant may be issued for your arrest. Many extradition cases involve violations of probation. Read more about how to avoid extradition to Clearwater, Pinellas County, or resolve the case quickly after a felony violation of probation warrant is issued.


Misdemeanor Probation Violations in Pinellas County

Even a first offense for a misdemeanor offense such as DUI, driving while license suspended, or domestic battery can result in probation. Special conditions of probation in these cases often include paying restitution, fines and court costs, complete classes or counseling, or perform community service hours. The judges in Pinellas County often issue "no bond" warrants for the probationer's arrest after the probation officer submit a violation of probation affidavit. These VOP cases often clog the court's dockets.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you find ways to come into compliance with any outstanding terms of your probation before the warrant is issued. The attorney can also request certain relief from the probation officer, including more time to complete the outstanding conditions before the warrant is issued.

After the warrant has been issued, you should immeidately surrender. The attorney can represent you at the first appearance (advisory hearing) after the arrest or to schedule an emergency bond hearing. In some cases, your attorney might get permission from the court to file a "motion to surrender" you in the courtroom so that the warrant and bond can be addressed before you go into custody.

The courts often appreciate the probationer's efforts to resolve the case quickly and come into compliance with outstanding conditions. By working with an attorney you can find the best ways to explain to the judge why all special conditions can be met if you are given additional time. Violation of probation cases are handled differently in the Pinellas County Criminal Justice Center in Clearwater, Florida. Call to speak to an attorney about the unique facts of your case.


Felony Probation Violation Cases in Pinellas County, Florida

The Honorable Frank Quesada, Circuit Court Judge, presides over the vast majority of felony violation of probation cases in Pinellas County. For individuals labeled as a "violent felon of special concern" a dangerousness hearing often takes at least two weeks to schedule. It has been estimated that 400 to 500 violators a year receive "no bond" because of the "violent felon" status in Pinellas County, FL.

At the Sammis Law Firm we understand how felony violation of probation cases are handled in Pinellas County. Many people wonder if they really need an attorney in a violation of probation case. Since the court often has the complete discretion to send you to prison for the statutory maximum period allowed - five years on a third degree felony, fifteen years on a second degree felony, or thirty years on a first degree felony - having an attorney present all mitigation in the case or negotiate a better disposition is critical.


Florida's Anti-Murder Act in Pinellas County for Clearwater, FL

Perhaps no new legislation has impacted violation of probation cases more then the Florida Anti-Murder Act. Read a recent news story from January 9, 2011, Florida's Anti-Murder Act in Pinellas County for Clearwater, which discusses the problems with Florida's anti-murder act. All jurisdictions throughout Florida, including in Pinellas County, must automatically deny bond to any individual charged with even a small technical violations of probation if that individual is tagged as a "violent felon of special concern."

Recent news story tracks a felony violation of probation in Pinellas County with Circuit Judge Frank Quesada. The article explains that in Pinellas County cases, the "dangerousness" hearings take weeks to schedule. It takes time to give the state and defense time to subpoena witnesses and prepare their case. The violation of probation division for Pinellas County in Clearwater, FL, handles "technical" probation violations and arrests on new misdemeanor offenses but does not include any new arrest for a felony charge.

Contact an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm to find out more about a "no bond" warrant in a violation of probation case that falls under the requirements of Florida's Anti-Murder Act.


Order of Probation in Pinellas County, FL

After being placed on probation read the Order of Probation carefully. Regardless of what your probation officer tells you, follow each requirement set out in the order of probation religiously. If you are required to perform at least 8 hours of community service each month, then complete at least 8 hours of community service each month. No matter what your probation officer tells you, make sure you follow all written requirements exactly.

Some people tell us that their probation officer has promised to give them extra time to complete the terms of probation or indicated that no violation will occur if they are behind in completing certain requirement of probation. It is never safe to rely on a promise from a probation officer unless the judge modifies the terms of probation in writing to match that promise. In fact, probation officers will often quit their job or are transferred to another position. A promise made by one probation officer may quickly be broken by the next probation officer that takes over your case.


Early Termination of Probation in Pinellas County

Not only should you follow the order of probation, but you should also strive to comply with all special conditions of probation by the half way point so that you can apply for Early Termination of Probation. Contact an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss a petition for early termination of probation for any case in Clearwater or Pinellas County, FL.


FInding an Attorney for Probation Violations in Pinellas County, FL

If you think the probation officer will alleged that you violated a standard or special condition of probation, then act quickly to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Call the attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss the unique facts of your case. Call 813-250-0500. We can begin your defense today.


Pinellas County Probation Resources

Pinellas County Misdemeanor Probation Office- Beginning on September 2, 2013, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office (PCSO) took over the duties of supervising people sentenced to misdemeanor probation. All probationers are now sent to report at one central location in order to comply with their court ordered probationary obligations.

Misdemeanor Probation Unit of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office
14500 49th Street North
Clearwater,  FL  33762
727-464-8100

Hours of Operation:
7:00 am to 5:00 pm
Monday through Friday

Information on probation violations from the Clerk of the Circuit Court - The Clerk of the Circuit Court for Pinellas County is run by Ken Burke. Find out more about how to resolve a violation of probation case, including information on avoiding extradition to Florida on a fugitive warrant for absconding.


Administrative Orders for Violation of Probation in Pinellas County, FL

Section 948.06(1), Florida Statutes, authorizes a judge to issue a Notice to Appear instead of issuing a warrant for the arrest of the probationer.  The statute also authorizes the Chief Judge in each judicial circuit to direct the Department of Corrections to use a technical violation letter in lieu of a violation report, affidavit, or warrant in certain circumstances.  If the violation is for a new misdemeanor or felony then the statute does not allow the procedure for a “technical notification letter” to be used. If the new violation is for a ordinance violation then the technical notification letter or affidavit and Notice to Appear procedure can still be used if otherwise permitted.

If the Chief Judge intends to use the “technical notification letter,” then the Chief Judge must specify in writing the types of violations that are to be reported by such a letter.  In order to address these issues, the Chief Judge for the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Pinellas County signed Administrative Order 2007-081 PA/PI-CIR on September 1, 2007. The administrative order rescinded Administrative Order 2007-073 PA/PI-CIR. That administrative order discusses “amended violations of felony probation or community control” in Pinellas County or Pasco County, FL.

The most important thing to realize about this procedure is that if the Department of Corrections is unable to provide notice to an offender of the hearing date, then the Department of Corrections shall prepare a warrant for the offender’s arrest. Therefore, it is particularly important to stay in contact with your probation officer and continue to attend many future meetings as scheduled even if you believe the probation officer might attempt to violate you for a technical violation.


Types of Violations Reportable by a “Technical Notification Affidavit” or Affidavit / Notice to Appear

The administrative order provides that the Department of Corrections may report alleged violations of probation or community control by a technical notification letter or by affidavit and a Notice to Appear when the offender:

  1. fails to report to the probation officer as directed;
  2. fails to be truthful to the probation officer;
  3. fails to follow instructions of the probation officer;
  4. fails to obtain permission prior to moving from an approved residence;
  5. fails to obtain permission prior to leaving approved employment;
  6. fails to comply with the terms of curfew;
  7. fails to obtain permission prior to leaving the county;
  8. fails to make restitution payments;
  9. fails to pay court costs under a payment plan;
  10. fails to perform required community service, or
  11. commits an ordinance violation.

Examples of Violations Reportable by an Affidavit and Proposed Notice to Appear

The administrative order for the Sixth Judicial Circuit in and for Pinellas County and Pasco County also provides that the Department of Corrections may report alleged violations of probation or community control by submitting an affidavit and proposed Notice to Appear when the offender:

  1. has positive results of a drug screen (including a urine test); or
  2. has committed a second degree misdemeanor.

Technical Notification Letters or Affidavit / Notice to Appear in Pinellas County

In Pinellas County, a technical notification letter or affidavit and Notice to Appear is to be submitted to the judge assigned to section Q (with the Honorable Frank Quesada, Circuit Court Judge) except for

  1. Cases from section M or section N;
  2. Cases that arise from a violation of chapter 794, sections 800.04(4), 800.04(5), 800.04(6), 827.071 or 847.0145, Florida Statutes, or
  3. Cases where the defendant has an additional open felony charge.

Instead of being submitted to section Q, those three types of cases must be submitted to the assigned section judge in the underlying case.

In Pasco County, the affidavit and Notice to Appear is to be submitted to the assigned section judge.

For a technical notification letter, if the judge agrees that the alleged violation does not require action by the court, the technical notification letter shall be forwarded to the Clerk of the Circuit Court for filing in the court file.  If the judge determines that the alleged violation requires court review, then the judge shall return the letter to the Department of Corrections with a directive to promptly submit an affidavit so that the court may either issue a Notice to Appear or a warrant.

If an affidavit and proposed Notice to Appear is submitted but the judge determines that the alleged violation requires arrest of the offender, the judge shall return the Notice to Appear to the Department of Corrections with a directive to promptly submit a warrant.


Other Alleged Violations of Probation and Community Control

For all other types of alleged violations, the Department of Corrections is required to report the violation by submitting an affidavit and warrant. In Pinellas County the affidavit and warrant is to be submitted to the judge assigned to section Q (with the Honorable Frank Quesada, Circuit Criminal Court Judge) except for the following types of cases:

  1. Cases from section M or section N;
  2. Cases that arise from a violation of chapter 794, sections 800.04(4), 800.04(5), 800.04(6), 827.071 or 847.0145, Florida Statutes, or
  3. Cases where the defendant has an additional open felony charge.

Instead of being submitted to section Q, those three types of cases must be submitted to the assigned section judge in the underlying case. In Pasco County, the affidavit and Notice to Appear is to be submitted to the assigned section judge.


Procedures for DOC When Submitting the Affidavit of VOP

When the Department of Corrections submits an affidavit regarding a person alleged to have violated probation or community control the Department is required to:

  1. indicate whether the Department seeks a warrant for the arrest of the offender or is requesting the Court to issue a Notice to Appear; and
  2. indicate whether the offender has ever been convicted of committing or is currently alleged to have committed a qualifying offense as defined in s. 948.06, Florida Statutes.

If the Department requests a Notice to Appear, the Department may also request that the date of the hearing be set after the next scheduled appointment with the offender.  When the Court signs a Notice to Appear, the Court is required to set a date for a hearing on the violation.  The Department of Corrections is to provide notice to the offender.  The administrative order contains a form Notice to Appear that may be used to provide notice to the offender of an upcoming court date on the Notice to Appear. 


In the Circuit Court, In and For Pasco County, Florida                                                       
Criminal Division
 
STATE OF FLORIDA
                                                                                                
vs.
__________________, Defendant
   
Notice to Appear

You are hereby ordered to appear to respond to charges that you violated probation.  You are ordered to appear at the West Pasco Judicial Center, 7530 Little Road, Courtroom _____ New Port Richey, Florida on _____________, 200___ at ______ am / pm.

Failure to appear for the above-referenced hearing will result in a warrant being issued for your arrest for an alleged violation of probation.

TO BE COMPLETED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS:      

The above offender is not a Violent Felony Offender of Special Concern.

________________________________

Probation Officer's Signature

Date:________________________    
 
If you are a person with a disability who needs any accommodation in order to participate in this proceeding, you are entitled, at no cost to you to the provision of certain assistance.  Within two (2) working days of your receipt of this Notice to Appear please contact the Public Information Dept., Pasco County Government Center, 7530 Little Rd., New Port Richey, FL 34654; (727) 847-8110 (V) in New Port Richey; (352) 521-4274, ext. 8110 (V) in Dade City; via 1-800-955-8771 if you are hearing impaired.


In the Circuit Court, In and For Pasco County, Florida                                                          
Criminal Division

STATE OF FLORIDA,
                                 Case No.: ________________ES 
                                 Division: ____________________
                                 SPN:      _____________________
                                 DOC #:  _____________________  
vs.
                            
__________________, Defendant

Notice to Appear

You are hereby ordered to appear to respond to charges that you violated probation.  You are ordered to appear at the Pasco County Courthouse, 38053 Live Oak Avenue, Courtroom _____ Dade City, Florida on _____________, 20___ at ______ am / pm.

Failure to appear for the above-referenced hearing will result in a warrant being issued for your arrest for an alleged violation of probation.

TO BE COMPLETED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS:     

The above offender is not a Violent Felony Offender of Special Concern.

________________________________
Probation Officer's Signature
Date:________________________


In the Circuit Court, In and For Pinellas County, Florida                                                          
Criminal Division

 
STATE OF FLORIDA,
                                     Case No.:  ________________CFANO  
                                     Division:   _____________________
                                     SPN:      ______________________                                                         
                                     DOC #:  _______________________                                                   
                 v.
    
___________________, Defendant
                
Notice to Appear

You are hereby ordered to appear to respond to charges that you violated probation.  You are ordered to appear at the Criminal Justice Center at 14250 49th Street North, Courtroom        , Clearwater, Florida, on _____________, 200___ at ______ am / pm.

Failure to appear for the above-referenced hearing will result in a warrant being issued for your arrest for an alleged violation of probation.

TO BE COMPLETED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS:      

The above offender is not a Violent Felony Offender of Special Concern.
                                                    ________________________________
                                                    Probation Officer's Signature


Article last updated on Tuesday, February 3, 2015.