What Happens If I Violate My Probation?
You were convicted or pled guilty to a crime here in South Florida. You’ve served your time or paid your fines, or maybe your sentence included neither of these. But you now find yourself on probation; the last step in putting this ordeal behind you. So long as you follow the terms the judge imposed upon you and meet your obligations, your probationary period will end without consequence and you can move forward with your life. The last thing you want is to wind up back in court, facing a whole new round of possible consequences that may be far worse than what you’ve been through already. But if you violate any of the terms of your probation, your problems which were almost over may be only just beginning.
Judges Don’t Like Having Their Orders Ignored
Any conditions of probation that were imposed upon you when you were convicted are court orders. They are not recommendations or suggestions or hopes, and judges in Florida do not like it when their orders are violated or disregarded, to say the least. If you are caught or prosecutors believe that you were violating your probation requirements or limitations, you can be arrested and will need to appear in court - usually before the same judge who initially sentenced you. You should arm yourself with the best criminal attorney you can find in Miami.
That’s because at that hearing, prosecutors will present evidence that you have failed to meet your obligations or engaged in conduct prohibited by the terms of your probation. Miami criminal lawyer Albert Quirantes can distinguish some probation violations as “technical,” such as failing to meet or check in with a probation officer and other violations that do not involve a new felony, misdemeanor, or criminal traffic offense. Others are “substantive” such as the commission of a new crime or violating conditions limiting contact with designated individuals.
As opposed to the very high standard of proof required to obtain a conviction on criminal charges – “beyond a reasonable doubt” – the judge only needs to find by “the greater weight of the evidence” that you willfully and substantially violated a specific condition of your probation. This means you are at a disadvantage from the start when facing allegations that you have violated your probation, making having an experienced criminal defense attorney at your side during the hearing even more important. If the alleged violation involved the commission of another crime, a conviction for the new offense can be the basis of additional penalties on top of whatever new sentence is handed down.
If the judge does find that you failed to abide by the court’s probation directives, he or she can impose a wide range of penalties and consequences up to and including incarceration, even if your original conviction did not include jail or prison time. Depending on the seriousness of the violation, additional potential penalties for a Florida probation violation can include:
Extending the length of your probation
House arrest or electronic monitoring
Adding additional conditions and restrictions to your probation
Adding additional community service
Drug or alcohol rehabilitation
Jail or Prison up to the original maximum you were facing
At minimum, a charge that you have violated the terms of your probation means that you are again at the mercy of Florida’s criminal justice system and can again be delayed from returning to a life with no more court-ordered limitations on what you can do, where you can go, and who you can see. If you’ve been charged with a South Florida probation violation, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately to discuss your case.
Albert Quirantes: Your Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer
For over 28 years, Miami criminal defense attorney Albert M. Quirantes has been aggressively and zealously defending the rights of those accused of felony and misdemeanor crimesthroughout South Florida. With his dedicated team, reasonable legal fees, and a well-earned reputation for challenging prosecutors at every turn, he has protected over 8,000 clients during some of the roughest times of their lives.
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If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, please call us today at (305) 644-1800 or fill out our online form to arrange for your free, confidential initial consultation.
If you have any questions about this or any other criminal accusation, call Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Albert Quirantes at: (305) 644-1800 or visit our homepage www.CriminalDefendant.com for a direct link to the office or a text message or a map and directions to our office.