Tallahassee Probation Violation Attorney
Not all criminal convictions result in jail time. In many cases, especially those involving first-time offenders, a judge will instead sentence a defendant to a period of probation. Probation is not a “Get Out of Jail Free” card, however. The defendant is required to follow a number of terms and conditions, including regular meetings with an assigned probation officer.
If your probation officer suspects that you have not complied with any of the terms of your release, they can file a “violation of probation.” This can lead to you being arrested and brought before a judge to explain yourself. And if the judge does not like your explanation, they could revoke probation and send you to prison to serve the full sentence on your original criminal conviction.
Of course, not every probation violation leads to prison. Many times the violation was only technical in nature and the court will decide to continue probation. But that does not mean you should not take a probation violation seriously. To the contrary, it is crucial that you work with an experienced Tallahassee probation violation attorney who can represent you and help you put the best foot forward when dealing with the court.
“New Law” vs. Technical Probation Violations
At Luke Newman, P.A., we represent clients throughout Tallahassee who are facing probation violations. Many times, our clients are confused by the process itself. Does a probation officer filing a violation mean they are automatically going to jail? Are they entitled to a new trial? Can probation be continued even if the violation is true?
The first thing you need to know is that there are two types of probation violations. The first is what is called a “new law” violation.“ As you probably know, one of the key conditions of probation is that you not commit any additional crimes. A new law violation means the state has reason to believe that is exactly what happened–i.e., you committed a crime while still on probation. It does not matter if it is a misdemeanor or a felony; any criminal violation is bad news if you are a probationer.
The second type of violation is a “technical” violation. This broadly refers to a probationer’s failure to comply with a specific term or condition that does not involve actually committing a new crime. For example, many people on probation are required to submit to periodic drug testing. If you miss or fail a drug test, that is a technical violation of probation.
Regardless of the type of violation, once your probation officer reports it, the State’s Attorney can bring you before a judge. You are entitled to a hearing. But unlike a trial, there is no jury–the judge decides if the probation violation is true–and the prosecution has a much lower burden of proof. If the judge determines you did violate probation, they can basically re-sentence you for the original crime you were convicted of. This does not necessarily mean jail time. For a first-time technical violation, for instance, the judge may decide to reinstate and continue your probation. But if probation is revoked, you can be sentenced to the maximum prison time permitted for your original crime.
Contact An Experienced Tallahassee Probation Violation Attorney
The best way to help ensure a favorable outcome in a probation violation hearing is to work with a qualified attorney. Contact Luke Newman, P.A., today if you need to speak with a lawyer right away regarding a probation matter.