Northeast Florida & Jacksonville FL Probation Violation Attorneys Ready To Assist You
Call our office first if you need an experienced Jacksonville FL probation violation lawyer to defend your case. A violation of probation (“VOP”) is a serious matter that should only be handled by an attorney or law firm experienced in handling these types of cases. Violation of probation cases are different in that you do not have a right to a trial by jury. Rather, you only have a right to a full hearing before a Judge to determine if your probation violation was “willful.”
Many individuals are not familiar with probation and how probation generally works. For starters, in order to be placed on probation, you must first be charged with some form of crime. This is the starting point that gets one before a judge and starts a criminal case. After your case is investigated and defended an offer of probation may be made by either the State Attorney or the Court. Probation is a good result for many cases especially cases where the defense simply has bad facts to support a trial. Ultimately, whether a client chose to take probation, versus going to trial, is a client call that is solely made by the client after a complete consultation with his or her law firm.
So, what happens if a client decides to accept probation to resolve the case? This is a good question often asked by our client. First, at the persons next court date, we will have all of the conditions of probation negotiated with the State Attorney. Usually, these will be the exact terms of probation. In some instances, the Judge, of Court, may wish to add other provisions of probation. This happens in open court and one of our lawyers from our law firm will be speaking in your place. Generally, we advise the court the client wishes to take a probation plea and then state the conditions of probation on the record – or in open court. If the court agrees to the probation the Judge will recite the terms of the plea deal and make sure the client understands all terms of probation. This whole process usually just takes five to ten minutes.
After the court accepts the plea deal there is usually a temporary probation officer (“TPO”) in the actual courtroom. One of our Jacksonville FL probation violation lawyers will walk you over to the desk of the temporary probation officer. There the TPO will just get your contact information and likewise give you a copy of the conditions of your probation. They will similarly give you a date and time where you are to meet with your regular and monitoring probation officer. The office where you must report for your probation will vary depending on whether you were placed on probation for a misdemeanor or probation.
What Are the Terms of Probation?
The terms of probation vary widely depending on the type of case and charge. With some form of charges, Florida Statutes sets the minimum conditions of probation. This is most common with DUI’s and domestic battery cases. In those cases, the law states that there are minimum statutory things a person must do if they are placed on probation for one of these crimes. In other case’s we, as your law firm, will negotiate the very best terms for your probation and spell all of those terms out to you before you agree to any form of the plea deal. Many times, we refer to terms of probation as technical. Technical terms include but are not limited to things such as: reporting to your PO as required, remaining drug-free, completing classes, paying fines and costs, paying restitution, attending counseling, and completing community service hours. Again, these are just common examples if the technical requirements of probation. The full assortment of these requirements will vary on a case-by-case basis.
How Can a Jacksonville Probation Attorney Help Me if I Violate Probation?
Probation violations are serious. They are generally broken down in one of two categories. A technical violation occurs if you do not do one of the “technical” things associated with your probation. Many of these are outlined in the paragraph above. However, let’s say you miss two appointments with your PO. Your PO could then file an affidavit for violation of probation stating the two missed appointments as technical violations. Or, on the other hand, let’s say you do not pay restitution and/or court costs as you are required to do. This could also lead to your PO filing an affidavit for violation of probation. While still serious, technical violation is usually better than a new crime violation.
A new crime violation occurs when a person commits any crime while currently on probation. This is usually more serious in nature than a technical violation by the Court. Why is this taken more seriously by the Court? Simply put, the Court may take the view that they gave you a chance or break by placing you on probation and you violated the Court’s trust by committing a new crime while on your probation. The Court may see to it that you can no longer be trusted on probation and may revoke your probation and potentially sentence you to jail. It is highly recommended that you hire an experienced Jacksonville FL probation violation attorney to help you fight.
How do I Defend Against a Probation Violation?
Fortunately, our law firm has a lot of experience with probation violation cases. Combined, we have defended hundreds of these cases and have the experience to help you with your VOP case. We first begin by trying to see if the State Attorney and your PO would agree to have your probation reinstated. You are also entitled to a violation of probation hearing before your Judge wherein we can defend the VOP allegations and/or mitigation your violations. In the end, our goal is to always try and get the client’s probation reinstated. But please note, as stated earlier, that there are certain risks when one violates probation.
Moreover, the standard for conviction in a VOP is lower than the standard of conviction for a new criminal charge. Namely, the Judge must only find by the greater weight of the evidence that a person has willfully violated his probation. This is a much lower standard than the traditional “beyond all reasonable doubt” standard required in all criminal cases.
As you can see, a violation of probation is a serious legal matter that should only be defended by an experienced violation of probation lawyer in Jacksonville. We also defend violation of probation cases around North and Central Florida.
At Armstrong Law Group, P.A. we have experience representing hundreds of clients facing VOP charges. Our attorneys have represented clients in numerous VOP hearings over the last decade.
Contact our highly experienced Jacksonville FL probation violation attorney today.