A probationary violation occurs when a defendant willfully and substantially violates the terms of their probationary sentence. Unfortunately, the specific conditions laid out by a probationary sentence can be violated by one’s everyday lifestyle unless they take the careful steps to accommodate their probation. Below, we go into greater detail about 6 common ways that Florida defendants violate their probation, whether intentionally or accidentally.
Missing Appointments with a Probation Officer
Regular check-ins with a probation officer are a necessity. It is their job to monitor offenders and prevent further criminal activity. As such, everything that they take note of is reported to the court. If you miss an appointment with a probation officer – even if they change the meeting time – then this may be grounds to send you back to jail. Make sure that each meeting time is marked clearly on a calendar or other reminder system.
Missing a Court Hearing or Meeting
Probation may mandate further court hearings or court-ordered meetings to verify that progress is being made. Such court orders could include community service, therapy, or other requirements defined by the court. Missing hearings or meetings prevents the court from checking your probationary progress, which is why they are considered serious violations.
Failing to Pay Fines
Some crimes may require defendants to either pay fines to the court or restitution to the victim. However, consequences for failing to pay fines in a timely manner are more severe than late fees. If you don’t make these payments on time, then you could be charged with a new offense for violating your probation and receive harsher terms. Be sure to set reminders to make any necessary payments that your probation calls for.
Associating with Certain People or Places
Your probation will likely lay out clear terms for people and places that you must refrain from visiting. For example, a gang member may be prohibited from contacting other members of the gang. In other cases, traveling out of state or violating other geographic restrictions can send you back to jail quickly. Familiarize yourself with the people and places that you must avoid to successfully complete your probation. Daytona Beach criminal defense attorneys can help clarify the terms of your probation so as to prevent any accidental violations.
Failing to Report a Change of Address
Transparency is key in the case of every probation. Even when it comes to things that may not give you any pause, such as a change of address, failing to disclose them can be considered a violation of probation. Something as simple as moving in with a family member in the same city must still be communicated clearly to court, otherwise it could be found to violate probation.
In some cases, probation may hinge on meaningful employment. If you are required to obtain a job and maintain employment, then a failure to succeed in either will be considered a violation of probation. Once you acquire employment, it is crucial to do everything in your power to keep that line of work until your probation is over. Terminations made in error are still enough to violate probation.
If you are found in violation of probation, then another court hearing will occur to determine if you did, in fact, violate the terms of the probation. Then, if confirmed, the court may hand down consequences including, but not limited to:
- Revoking your probation and requiring a prison sentence
- Modifying your probation with additional requirements
- Extending your probation
Do you fear that your probation could be at risk of violation? Probation may feel like added jail time, but it is much better than violating the terms of your sentence and getting sent back to jail. Whether your probation violation occurs accidentally or for reasons out of your control, it is critical to obtain legal assistance from an experienced Daytona Beach FL criminal defense attorney to protect your rights.