“Probation” is often a word that triggers a sigh of relief. Even though you have been convicted of a crime, you will not have to go to jail, and can continue living your life.
The reality, however, isn’t quite so simple or sunny. The judge of your case and your probation officer will have strict rules that you will be required to follow during your probation sentence. Violate any of these rules or terms of your probation, and you may face more serious consequences than your first time in court.
How can someone violate probation in Florida? Let’s look at a few recent examples.
3 Recent Examples of Probation Violations
Assaulting a Police Officer: In November 2015, Kate Major (the estranged wife of Michael Lohan, father of Lindsey Lohan) was put on probation for allegedly threatening a flight crew. In October 2016, she was arrested for disorderly intoxication and assaulting an officer in Florida. Although she asked for admittance to a rehabilitation program, the judge decided her probation violation and additional charges warranted six months in jail.
Shoplifting, Possession of Drugs and Drug Equipment: A woman was caught stealing a stick of deodorant in a Crestview Family Dollar earlier this month while she was on probation from previous charges. When speaking with officers, she confessed to having a meth pipe in her purse (a close search of her purse revealed a white pill as well). The woman was charged with shoplifting, drug possession, possession of drug equipment, and violation of probation.
Conspiring to Commit Felonies: This story is a doozy. Four young men were arrested earlier this month after shots were fired around the Woodland Park Apartments in Gainesville. The shootout involved two vehicles, one of which had been reported stolen. After one of the cars was pulled over for a stop sign violation, the officer found over 100 grams of marijuana and multiple firearms. One of the people in the vehicle, a 16-year-old, was on probation and sent to a juvenile detention facility on probation violation.
Now, the above examples all have one thing in common: they are all criminal offenses on their own. Committing a crime is only one way that you can violate your probation. You will also have specific rules that you must follow.
Non-Criminal Acts That Could Constitute a Probation Violation
Depending on the charges you faced and your sentence, the following could be considered a probation violation:
- Failing to meet/avoiding your probation officer
- Missing monthly reports with probation officer or law enforcement
- Testing positive for controlled substances
- Failing to complete substance abuse treatment programs
- Failing to pay fines/restitutions
- Failing to come home, be at work, be at school, etc. without a reasonable excuse for absence
- Violating the terms of protection orders
A first minor violation or misunderstanding involving rules such as these may only warrant a slap on the wrist, or a warning from your probation officer. However, if they continue to happen, these seemingly innocuous incidents can end up sending you to jail or a juvenile detention center.
Not only are penalties serious, the defense strategies you may be able to use to argue your side tend to be complex, and involve an in-depth look at your probation and the laws around it. If you are accused of violating your probation, it is critical to hire an experienced Florida probation violations attorney with a track record of success. Doing so is the best way to get your charges dropped or minimize the penalties you face for your actions.
About the Author:
Attorney David W. Olson is the founder of the Law Offices of David W. Olson in West Palm Beach. He has been practicing criminal law and successfully representing clients throughout the State of Florida for over 30 years. Throughout his legal career, Mr. Olson has been honored numerous times for both his dedication and excellence in criminal law. He proudly holds the Martindale-Hubbell AV Rating, as well as being recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013), in the Nation’s Top One Percent of attorneys (2015), and as a 10 Best Member of the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys (2015). He has even received commendations from members of congress and other public officials for the fantastic work that he’s done. Mr. Olson graduated from the University of Florida’s Fredric G. Levin College of Law in 1981 and has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1983.