First, understand that your probation officer is the court official who is in charge of handling your probation. As such and aside from a judge’s ruling, nearly everything related to your probation goes through your probation officer. As you can imagine, your probation officer wields a lot of power when it comes to possible probation violations.
Unfortunately, not all probation officers have the time to go over every aspect of your probation terms and conditions with you.
Your probation officer might hit some of the higher points such as making sure you attend each probation meeting and pay back all of your court costs and other fees, but what about some of the other probation conditions? For example, if you’re prescribed medication, do you need to provide the prescription to your probation officer? Or, do additional arrests violate your current probation? What if it’s just a simple traffic violation?
Being unclear about the terms and conditions of your probation can lead to probation violations, but an experienced criminal defense attorney can help outline all the terms and conditions for you—as well as make sure you’re fully represented should you violate your probation.
Probation Terms and Conditions
Every state has its own probation terms and conditions, and some states have different probation terms and conditions throughout different jurisdictions. Further muddying the waters is that some jurisdictions tailor the terms and conditions of a person’s probation based on that person’s specific case, meaning, two people within the same jurisdiction and having the same probation officer actually can have varying probation terms and conditions.
Yes, it can get pretty confusing.
So, it’s important that your specific probation terms and conditions are thoroughly explained to you. Remember that no two situations are the same. So it isn’t a good idea to rely on what you’ve heard about others’ situations.
Still, we can outline some of the most common probation terms and conditions, which can include:
- Reporting to your probation officer during every probation appointment. Of course, times vary depending on the officer, your case, and even how long you’ve already been meeting with them. For example, your probation officer might want to meet once a week for a month and then once a month after that.
- Paying all court costs and other related fines and fees. You might have a payment plan or deadline to meet, so be sure to ask your probation officer for details.
- Abstaining from drug and possibly alcohol use. Sometimes, this includes prescription medications, so be sure to clear any current or future prescriptions with your probation officer.
- Attending any court-mandated classes or counseling sessions. For example, your judge might order you to attended Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or Alcohol Anonymous (AA) meetings if your crime was drug or alcohol-related.
- Avoiding additional arrests. Whether or not you’re guilty of the new charges, additional arrests are often counted as probation violations. Sometimes, this includes even simple traffic infractions. Play it safe and stay as far away from any activity that gives you even the slightest suspicion of illegality.
- Not leaving the city, county, or state without your probation officer’s permission. More often than not, people on probation aren’t allowed to leave the area (defined by probation) without permission from their probation officers.
Again, these can vary by state, jurisdiction, and even person, but it’s a fairly safe bet that if you’ve violated any of these terms and conditions, or your probation officer feels you have, you’ll go before a judge for a probation violation hearing—and you’ll definitely want an experienced criminal defense attorney representing you.
Probation Violation Hearings
Once your probation officer files an affidavit of violation with the court, you’ll get a probation violation hearing.
Just as it sounds, a probation violation hearing is designed to determine whether or not you’ve violated your probation. It’s up to your probation officer and possibly the prosecutor to prove you have—or, at least provide evidence that suggests you might have—and it’s up to you and your attorney to prove you haven’t—or, if you have, provide a good defense.
Your probation officer can take you to court for probation violation, but ultimately it’s up to the judge to determine whether you actually violated your probation; however, your judge will listen closely to both sides.
Even so, you’re going up against respected court officials; simply put, it’s your word against theirs. This is why it’s so important to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney who specializes in probation violation cases such as Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates.
Would you feel comfortable enough representing yourself—or depending on a public defender already overloaded with cases—when your freedom literally is at risk? An experienced criminal defense lawyer is in Miami knows Florida’s probation laws and will provide you with the best legal representation possible based on those laws and your specific situation.
Also, if you’re found guilty of violating your probation, your criminal defense attorney might be able to file an appeal, based on your situation, or work out a plea agreement for a lesser punishment.
For example, a common consequence of probation violation is jail time; in fact, probation often is an alternative to jail time. So, if your judge has given you probation instead of jail and you violate that probation, he or she could revoke your probation and order you to serve your original jail sentence. An experienced probation violation attorney will try to get you a lesser punishment, such as additional probation time or community service.
Hire a Miami Probation Violation Lawyer
Are you afraid you’ve violated your probation and your probation officer will find out? Or, has your probation officer already accused you of violating your probation? Maybe you have a probation violation hearing coming up? Perhaps you’ve just now entered probation and aren’t clear on the exact terms and conditions?
Regardless of the situation, if you’re found guilty of violating your probation you could face additional punishments like extra probation time, community service, or even prison time.
Before taking another step, contact Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates at 305-379-8688. You’ll receive a free consultation based on the details of your possible probation violation as it relates to the specific terms and conditions of your probation.