Orlando Probation Violation Lawyer
Florida’s prison population has roughly doubled since the 1990s. Prison capacity has expanded as well, but at a much slower rate. So, many of Florida’s jails and prisons are quite crowded. As a result, most defendants, even those with criminal records, will probably receive probation. Assuming the defendant is willing to make some changes and submit to the court’s authority, supervised release is usually a very good option.
An effective defense is the best way to ensure probation, and that’s where the diligent Orlando probation violation lawyers at the O’Mara Law Group shine brightest. We know the law, and we know what defenses are available, be they procedural or substantive. We also know how to put prosecutors to their proof. Many times, there is not enough evidence to convince a jury that the defendant is guilty. In these situations, a favorable outcome is almost guaranteed.
Conditions of Probation
After the judge sentences the defendant to probation, most defendants must attend orientation sessions. A significant number of the probation violators are absconders who never do anything. So, if the defendant makes any effort to comply, probation violations are rare.
At orientation, the defendant learns about both the generic and offense-specific conditions of probation. Some general conditions which apply to almost all defendants include:
- Commit no other offenses,
- Pay fines, costs, probation fees, restitution, and any other required items,
- Avoid alcohol or drugs (but not tobacco),
- Perform community service,
- Report regularly, and
- Avoid injurious or dangerous habits.
There are a number of offense-specific conditions as well. For example, most assault probations include anger management and other self-improvement classes. And, most DUI probationers must have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles. DUI probation usually includes a victim impact panel and a risk assessment as well.
Common Probation Violations in Orange County
Generally, the probation officer refers violation cases to the district attorney, who then decides whether or not to file a motion to revoke. Typically, the motion includes at least one of the following:
New Offense: The infraction must be against the State of Florida. Parking tickets and other municipal violations, even if they result in failure-to-appear warrants or other such things, typically do not count.
Not Reporting: Generally, probationers must report in person at least once a month. They must also bring requested documents, like paystubs or school report cards. A failure to do either one could be deemed as a failure to report. Some probation officers overlook a missed appointment or two, especially if the defendant called in advance with a good excuse. Other officers, however, are not this understanding.
Failure to Pay Money: If the motion alleges no other violation, a failure to pay money may be insufficient. That’s especially true if the defendant has not paid restitution. Debtors’ prisons are illegal.
In court, prosecutors must prove every allegation in the motion by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).
What to Expect
The outcome largely depends on the amount of probation the defendant has completed and the seriousness of the infraction.
If the defendant absconded, the judge may legitimately ask why the defendant should be continued on probation when s/he did not do anything in the first place. If, on the other hand, the defendant has completed most of the requirements, it’s much easier to reinstate probation. Most judges also look less harshly on technical infractions, like failure to report, than substantive violations, like committing a new offense.
Typically, if the prosecutor proves the allegations, the judge will either extend the period of probation or order the defendant to serve a few days in jail as a condition of reinstatement. Outright probation revocations are rare, except in extreme cases.
Reach Out to Diligent Attorneys
Probation, and probation violations are integral parts of the Florida criminal justice system. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Orlando, contact the O’Mara Law Group. Home and jail visits are available.