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Criminal Defense

Violation of Probation

Violation-of-Probation

If you have been released from jail on probation or parole, you have been given a second chance at life. Sometimes, taking advantage of that second chance may not be as easy as it seems at first. Orlando Violation of Probation Attorney Joe Knape knows that things can happen that might put you back in jail. Probation Violation Lawyer Joe Knape would like to help.

 

First of all, let’s define terms. What is the difference between parole and probation? The easiest explanation is that probation is given to keep you out of jail in the first place, while parole can be granted after a person has been incarcerated for a period of time, in effect, shortening the amount of time they will spend in jail. Violation of either probation or parole is a serious offense that can send the perpetrator to jail.

If you are given probation instead of a jail term, it will come with conditions. You will be assigned a probation officer and you will have to check in with the case officer on a regular basis and account for what you have been doing. Failure to check in with your probation officer can be considered a violation of probation and can end up sending you to jail.

As part of your probation, you may also be ordered to undergo treatment for alcohol or drug problems, you may be ordered to attend counseling sessions or undergo a therapy regimen. You may also be ordered to get and or keep some form of gainful employment.  The special conditions of probation very from case to case because of the specific facts, the original criminal charge, and the past criminal history.

If you violate your probation, the consequences can vary. The Judge has the discretion to resentence you up to the maximum punishment for the original offense even if you completed 99.9% of your probation term successfully. People will tell you that probation is a trap and it is very difficult to complete. That is most likely why you are reading this information. The only good thing about a violation of probation is that you have flexibility with the outcome and if you are granted a bond you can work hard to complete the outstanding conditions to impress the Court and avoid a lengthy jail sentence. Alternative to jail is the option to reinstate your probation or you may have your probation extended, you may have the restrictions tightened or you may end up in jail. If you think you have violated your probation, it is best to get aggressive, experienced legal counsel immediately. Call Criminal Defense Lawyer Joe Knape. Joe knows how the probation system works and he know how to negotiate on your behalf.

The Violation of Probation Hearing
Hearings for probation violation are different from trials for the original crime. A few of the most significant differences are:

  • No Jury: Probation violation trials are only heard by a judge. There is no jury at these hearings.
  • You May be Called to Testify: The State has the right to call the probationer to testify regarding technical matters.
  • Less Proof: Probation hearings requires less evidence and have lower standards of proof. Rather than “beyond reasonable doubt” the judge only needs “preponderance of the evidence” to make a negative decision.
  • Hearsay Is Permissible: In probation hearings, unlike at the original trial, hearsay may be presented.
  • The government must prove that the violation of probation was willful and substantial.  For example this burden will prevent a finding of violation if you were unable to pay costs associated because you didn’t have a job but the government can use financial information to prove that you may have had the money but ended up spending it elsewhere which would make the violation willful.  This issue also applies often with community service or classes where the individual was disabled or physically unable to attend the meetings.

Sometimes with the most serious violation of probation hearings it makes sense to just do the jail time but having an experienced attorney negotiate for the lowest amount of jail could make a world of difference.  If you have been sentenced to prison and meet the minimum guidelines for time served and behavior, you may have part of your sentence converted to a halfway house or other alternative incarceration program. State law in some cases with minimum mandatory sentences requires day for day on the term of imprisonment. Other charges allow for a person to only be required to serve 85% of their Court order sentence.

Probation is like a laundry list of things you are prohibited from doing and the supervision level often depends on your crime. A repeat or violent offender may be subject to GPS monitoring or Community Control which is a form of super aggressive probation. You are almost certainly prohibited from associating with certain people especially known criminals. You may be prohibited from visiting certain places or doing certain activities. You may even be limited to staying in your home while you are out of jail. You may be required to get and keep a job. You may have to undergo therapy. The list of restrictions is tailored to each individual based on the facts of each case. If you violate the terms of your probation, you can be sent back to jail, or even have your sentence altered.

If circumstances have gotten away from you, and your probation may be violated, it is best to get aggressive, experienced legal counsel immediately. It is important to have a lawyer on your side who is experienced in defending charges of VOP and Community Control. Call Orlando Violation of Probation Attorney Joe Knape for a Free Consultation. Joe knows how the probation system works and he knows how to negotiate on your behalf.

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