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All About Probation in Florida

florida probation agreement

All About Probation in Florida

PROBATION

Things you should know about it, as well as other miscellaneous sentencing conditions.

Although it’s no walk in the park, probation beats the heck out of jail time. But its important to keep in mind that probationary sentences come in all shapes and sizes. Even the lowest level misdemeanor cases (e.g., Reckless Driving) may involve some brief period of probation. Then at the higher end, you have felony probation (e.g., Drug Sales/Possession, Aggravated Battery, etc.) and sex offense charges that oftentimes require the rigorous Sex Offender Probation. Probation typically begins the day you go to court with your lawyer to enter your plea of guilty or no contest to the charges. It is there that you will oftentimes meet with a probation officer in the court who will briefly exchange some contact information with your and give you some paperwork and possibly set up your first appointment.

Probation is not free and as you’ll see below, it comes with monthly reporting fees. You will also see below examples of the most common Orders that Judges will enter when placing a person on probation. These forms include the terms, the conditions and payment of court costs and fines. Oftentimes your probation can terminate early upon completion of all conditions, provided there are no violations of probation. So for example, if you are placed on probation for 12 months, many times a Judge will allow for early termination once all conditions (e.g., DUI school, community service, etc)—sometimes as early as 30-60 days. Thus, it will be in your best interest to always get as much done as quickly as possible.

Conditions of Probation:

One of the most common questions our clients have involves the conditions and how to go about completing them. Many cases will involve special conditions such as a class (e.g, theft class, victim impact panel, etc.), community service hours, substance abuse evaluations, and no contact with victims. In addition to the special conditions imposed, a Judge will also impose what are referred to as “Standard Conditions” of probation. These are applied to most, if not all cases. Examples include the requirement to refrain from picking up any new offenses while on probation, to keep a job or actively seek employment, to not possess firearms or change your residence without advising your probation officer first. If you violate any of the terms/conditions you may be subject to being arrested.

The conditions of probation will be laid out for you in more detail at your first meeting with your probation officer. You will get information about where and when you will report for your first meeting. This Probation report notice (link to form) is illustrative of most forms people will receive immediately after they resolve their case and are placed on probation. It offers information on the address to the probation office, how to pay probation fees and other initial reporting instructions.

The lesser the charge, the fewer the conditions you’ll typically see. For example, those convicted of a DUI will have more onerous conditions than those who have their DUI charges reduced to Reckless Driving. Examples include lesser fines, not having to install the Interlock device on the vehicle and shorter probationary periods.

Some people will have to serve a jail sentence as a condition of probation. For those persons, once released, they will be on probation for a designated period of time. Others might be required to serve a jail sentence and once released, they are then put on probation. These examples are referred to as “split sentences”.

Orders of Probation:

Below are some of the most common Orders of Probation in our practice areas (Duval, St. Johns, Nassau, Clay, Putnam, Flagler, Baker counties). Not all of these orders apply in every case, but they can be used a good guide to what you might expect as far as what your order of probation will look like and what will be expected of you. If your case is held in a different county, rest assured that your probation conditions and order will likely mirror the ones below:

DUI Probation Order (Duval County)

Reckless Driving Probation Order (St. Johns County)

Felony Probation Order (Duval County)

Sex Offender Probation (Clay County)

Misdemeanor Probation Program Report Notice (Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office)

Miscellaneous items: (Court Costs/Fines)

Some parts of a person’s sentence can be performed outside of probation. One common example is the payment of court costs/fines. If your case involves no probation, or the ability to pay court costs/fines outside of probation, here are some helpful hints in how to go about paying these items.

For Duval county cases, go to epay.duvalclerk.com or visit www.duvalclerk.com or call 904-255-2300 for information on payment policies, plans and office locations.

Payment plans can be set up, must be done so in person at a Clerk of Court office for Duval cases. You will sign a contract, make the first month’s payment as well as a $25 plan fee and payment of any late fees if applicable. Once established, monthly payments may be made online prior to the next due date. Fees that are usually not available to pay online include restitution, Judgments, fees that are a part of probation, fees referred to collections, cases where there is an outstanding warrant, capias, or summons.

If paying your fine or costs online, you will need: (Duval County):

*Master Card, Discover or Amex (2.75% processing fee will apply)

*Valid billing address and CVV no. (3 digit no. on the back of your card, or 4 digit on the front for some Amex cards)

*A payment receipt will be emailed, or you may print a copy for your records.

Keep in mind that payments received after 6pm on the due date may trigger a DL suspension or late fees.

For online payments in Clay County cases, visit www.clayclerk.com/pay-online/

For payment options in St. Johns County Cases, visit stjohnsclerk.com/payment-plan-guidelines/  To make payment by phone, call 855-796-5764

For Nassau County Payment options, visit www.nassauclerk.com.

Paying court costs by U.S. Mail is also available in some counties.

Jacksonville, FL Probation Violation Attorney

Lee Lockett and his legal team at Lockett Law are based out of Duval County, but travel all over North Florida to defend the rights of the accused. The team is prepared to defend your rights if you have been accused of a violation of probation in or out of Jacksonville. Mr. Lockett began his career as a prosecutor and brings that knowledge to defend the accused and seek justice. He learned how these cases work and knows how to appeal to the state, and isolate the cases where the prosecutor can’t prove the violation at hearing. Call a Jacksonville probation lawyer today at (904) 858-9818 or connect with our team in the chat window on the bottom right of your screen to have an open and free consultation.