Probation is a very common part of criminal sentences in Florida. Probation and Parole are often discussed together, but both are very different. Parole is offered to individuals as an alternative to the rest of a prison sentence, instead they are allowed to be free, but with substantial restrictions. Probation is similar due to the fact that it is also a form of monitoring and tracking, but it is part of the original sentence. Probation is also usually used to guide not only the tracking of the convicted but also the treatment that the judge thought was fit at sentencing.
Hundreds of thousands of Floridians are on probation at any given time. Probation is a fantastic tool for the system to keep people out of jail and prison, supporting family and the community, while still monitoring actions and driving treatment. Unfortunately, some people are accused of not complying with probation. This could be failure to take classes, a new law violation, “hot” urinary analysis (indicative of tampering or drug use), or any other violation of the terms as laid out during sentencing. These terms are decided by the judge and the type of probation the defendant is placed on.
Types of Probation in Florida
Offenders in Florida are placed on various types of probation based on the circumstances:
- Standard Probation: This is the baseline probation most offenders are placed on, with the restrictions outlined below.
- Administrative Probation: This is a more hands-off type of probation without regular meetings.
- Drug Probation: This type of probation is sentenced in drug cases and includes specific treatment programs for the offenders substance abuse. This almost universally will include random drug tests as well. Sometimes this can include more intense treatment, such as inpatient facilities mandated by the court.
- Community Control Probation: This is probation with strict monitoring, the defendant must live in a special facility. This is a step up from jail and prison since there is the ability to leave, but the restrictions go far above what a typical probationary sentence would include.
- Community Control II Probation: This is the same as standard community control, but there must be 24 hour monitoring of the offender.
- Parole: Parole is only open to offenses committed prior to October of 1983 and is not technically a form of probation. This is instead a similar type of monitoring which allows the inmate to leave prison but remain monitored for reintegration.
- Sex Offender Probation: Anyone who has committed a sex offense must undergo intense probation, including electronic monitoring, internet restrictions, no access to children, and sex offender registration requirements.
- Pretrial Intervention: Some accused individuals are eligible for probation that results in the case being dismissed, these programs are particularly common in drug cases, but are county-specific.
The type of probation, background of the defendant, and the specific facts of a case will determine requirements outside of the standard set.
Common Terms of Probation in Florida
Common probation terms include:
- Report to your probation officer as required;
- Allow a probation officer into your home at any time for supervision;
- Locate, secure and keep active employment;
- Remain in a specific location unless permission is given to leave, this can in include the state, a specific county, or even a city of residence;
- Restitution payment;
- Payment of feeds;
- Drug or alcohol testing, at random;
- Community service;
- No violating any other laws;
- No association with those involved in criminal activity;
- Possession, or carrying of a firearm;
- Visiting anywhere drugs or alcohol are sold or available; or,
- Any other requirement assigned by the court.
A probation officer or prosecutor can file a petition to revoke probation for any single one of these requirements. This can lead to a warrant being issued, usually with no possible bond, leaving the accused to sit in jail for weeks or months before a hearing is held.
Probation Revocation Hearing
Criminal trials afford the accused a lot of different rights based on the circumstances. These include a trial by jury, strict evidentiary rules favoring the defendant, and a burden placed on the prosecution to prove the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Probation hearings do not have any of these protections. A probation hearing is heard by a judge only, not a jury. A lot more leeway is given to the type of evidence presented, a defendant can even be forced to testify. The burden is even far lower, the state must only convince the judge by a preponderance of the evidence, essentially more likely than not. Revocation hearings are often a foregone conclusion, that’s why it’s important to have an experience criminal defense attorney on your side to ensure the best possible outcome.
There are three primary ways a revocation can go (aside from winning at hearing):
- Revoke and reinstate: This is often the best result. Probationary journeys are sometimes rocky, but often a second chance is appropriate.
- Revoke and terminate without penalty: This is not ideal, if the defendant ever has a criminal case down the road, this will be part of the record and deciding factors for the prosecutor and judge at every step.
- Revoke and terminate with penalty: this will often result in jail or prison. This is the worst outcome because the judge is essentially saying you’ve used up all opportunities. It’s crucial to avoid this type of outcome by speaking to a defense attorney who is able to stand up for your rights.
Jacksonville, FL Probation Violation Attorney
Lee Lockett and legal team at Lockett 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.