Violations of Probation Attorney Near Me in Palm Beach County FL
When a person pleads guilty or is found guilty in a criminal case they may be put on probation. Probation can be difficult to successfully complete depending on a variety of factors including who your probation officer is and the conditions of probation. Some probation officers are stricter than others and some conditions of probations are more difficult to complete than others. VOPs are taken seriously by Judges and Prosecutors in the criminal justice system however the State needs to prove that your violation was Willful and Substantial.
Differences between Criminal Cases and Violations of Probation
In a regular criminal case, you have the right to a jury trial. During a Criminal Trial, it is the jury who decides the facts: the jury determines if you are guilty or not guilty. In a VOP hearing, there are no jury trials. It is the judge who determines if you violated your probation or not.
Another difference is the standards of proof differ in VOP hearings. In a criminal trial, the prosecutor will have to prove your case Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. This standard is one of the highest standards of proof in the criminal justice system. However, in a VOP hearing, the standard is By Preponderance of the Evidence which is a much lower standard compared to Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. What this means is it is easier for the State of Florida to prove you violated probation than it is for them to prove you are guilty of a crime. Although the standard is lower, the prosecutor will still have the burden to prove that your violation is a willful and substantial violation. If the prosecutor is unable to prove this then a judge will not be able to find you in violation of your probation.
Some potential penalties for a VOP in Florida include:
- Extension of probation: If the court finds that you violated the terms of your probation, they may extend your probation for a longer period of time, often with additional conditions such as community service, drug testing, or counseling.
- Jail time: Depending on the severity of the violation and the terms of your probation, the court may sentence you to serve time in jail. The length of the sentence can vary widely, depending on the specific circumstances of the case.
- Fines and restitution: If you are found to have violated your probation, you may be required to pay fines or restitution to the victim or the state.
- Revocation of probation: In some cases, the court may choose to revoke your probation altogether, which means that you will be sentenced to serve the remainder of your original sentence in jail or prison.
Former Prosecutor Andrew Simko has handled hundreds of Violations of Probation cases. He understands how VOPs work and what needs to be done in order for his clients to receive the best possible resolution. Call him today.