When faced with the possibility of prison, probation often seems like a
wonderful alternative. In some cases, depending on the strength of the
evidence against the accused, that may actually be true. However, there
are many misconceptions about probation. For one, probation is exactly
that: probation. Legally speaking,
it means that you are on thin ice. One slip up and you can find yourself facing a violation. If you or someone
you know are currently facing a
probation violation in Miami-Dade County, here are some things you should know.
Two Types of Probation Violations
There are 2 types of probation violations:
Technical violations and substantive, or "new law" violations. A technical violation is less severe than a substantive violation. A
technical violation can be something like a positive drug test, failing
to report to your probation officer, changing your address without notifying
your probation officer, or failing to complete your classes or community
A substantive, or "new law" violation, is when the probationer
gets arrested for a new crime while on probation. These are far more severe
and are treated as such by the State Attorney's Office and the Courts.
If you are on probation for a misdemeanor and are arrested for a new misdemeanor,
chances are you will be able to post a bond and appear in court. If you
are on probation for a felony, however, and pick up a new misdemeanor,
or worse, a new felony, you will more than likely be held without bond
until the matter is resolved.
Penalties for Probation Violation
When you are
and charged with a crime, you are presumed innocent and the charges must
be proven by the State beyond a reasonable doubt. When you violate probation,
however, the State need only prove that you violated your probation by
a preponderance, or greater weight, of the evidence. This is a much easier
standard for the State to meet.
When you violate probation, you
face the maximum number of years you would have faced on your underlying charge, minus the time you have already served on probation. For example, if
you are on two years probation for grand theft, which carries a maximum
of five years in prison in Florida, and you violate probation after the
first year, you are facing a maximum of four years in prison if the Judge
finds that you willfully violated your probation.
Contact an Attorney with Experience
That's another important point -
there is no jury trial in a probation violation hearing
. It is a hearing before a Judge. Probation violations are serious matters.
I have handled many probation violations in both Miami and Broward courts
and have been successful in my negotiations with the State. Feel free
to contact me to ask me specific questions regarding the results of my
recent probation violation cases. If you or a family member are facing
a probation violation in Miami or Broward court,
call me right away.