Accused of Violating Probation? Here is What You Need to Know
If you have been charged with violation of probation (VOP) you need act quickly. In Florida, this type of charge can turn into a serious crime, with very serious consequences. Under state law, there are two types of probation violations:
- New law violations: Many VOP charges stem from new arrests. If you are on probation, and you are then charged with an additional crime, it is very likely that you will receive a VOP charge. In that scenario, you will have a lot to think about, as the VOP charge will affect your options when it comes to defending any new charges. For example, in some cases it makes sense to plead guilty to a charge in exchange for a favorable punishment. Sometimes pleading guilty is the best way to avoid any jail time. However, that option is much more difficult to use if you are already on probation. This is because a guilty plea gives Florida authorities all the evidence they need to prove the VOP charge. If you find yourself in this situation, you need to call an experienced Tampa defense attorney
- Technical violations: This type of violation occurs when no new laws were actually broken. Usually a technical violation is the result of a missed court date, a failure to pay a fine or the failure to attend a meeting with a probation officer. In Florida you can only be convicted of technical VOP if you willfully failed to meet your probation conditions. This is a much easier charge to defend than a new law violation, but you still need to take it seriously. If you fail to act, the consequences will compound and you could end up in major trouble.
Defending a Violation of Probation Charge
Much like other criminal cases, your defense lawyer may be able to defend you from a VOP charge by proving your innocence or by establishing that the evidence is insufficient to support a conviction. However, in the case of a technical violation, your lawyer may also be able to defend you by showing something known as ‘full compliance’. This can be demonstrated by proving that you have kept up with all other conditions of your probation, and by proving that extenuating circumstances were the cause of the alleged violation. A good example of this is when someone misses a probation-related meeting because they were taking care of an ill relative.
What is the Punishment?
The penalties for violating probation can vary widely. Ultimately, if you are found guilty of violating probation in Florida, your punishment will often be the modification or revocation of your probation. Depending on the terms of your probation, the effects of this type punishment can be substantial. In fact, a judge may even be able to revoke your probation entirely and sentence you to the maximum penalty for your initial charge.
Contact an Experienced Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been accused of violating probation, you need to speak to an experienced lawyer immediately. The ramifications can be too severe to ignore the problem. At the Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group, we understand that a probation violation charge can be intimidating and we are here to help. Please do not hesitate to contact our Tampa Bay office today at (813) 803-6518 to schedule a free initial consultation.