Probation Violations

Volusia County Attorney Protecting the Rights of Criminal Defendants

A probation violation occurs when a defendant substantially and willfully commits a violation of the terms and conditions of probation. It is important to realize that your probation violation hearing will be handled differently from a criminal charge, and you should still seek representation for the proceeding. If you are facing proceedings for a probation violation, Volusia County probation violation lawyer Genine Ann Mejia can provide aggressive and dedicated representation.

Probation Violations

Probation is a type of community supervision. It is a privilege, rather than a right, and it is imposed with the goal of rehabilitating the defendant and protecting society, rather than punishing the defendant. Probation requires the probationer to follow certain terms and conditions in exchange for not going to or staying in jail. Probation violation proceedings are different from other criminal charges because there is a reduced standard of proof. At the hearing, the prosecutor will need to show that a willful and substantial violation of probation happened based on the greater weight of competent evidence. The usual standard for criminal charges, on the other hand, is “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Substantive and Technical Violations

Probation violations can be substantive or technical violations. Substantive violations happen if somebody perpetrates a new crime while on probation. For example, if you are on probation for assault, and you are caught trafficking in heroin during the probationary period, that would likely be considered a substantive violation. If a prosecutor wants to get probation revoked based on a new crime, they need to give direct non-hearsay evidence that connects you to committing the new crime. It is not enough for a police officer to let the court know that a victim said that you did it. Technical violations happen when there is a violation of a condition of probation, such as failing a drug test or missing appointments. A probation violation attorney in Volusia County can explain the steps that may follow a substantive or technical violation.

When there is a substantive probation violation, an officer may initiate proceedings to have you arrested. If the new offense is a minor or misdemeanor offense, the officer will complete an Affidavit of Violation of a Department of Corrections Violation Report. The officer is supposed to explain why they believe that you perpetrated the violation at issue. If an arrest warrant is issued, and you are taken into custody, a hearing can be scheduled for a review of your case. You will be put on a no-bond status, such that you will need to stay incarcerated until someone asks for bond or bail. The violation of probation hearing is very different from an ordinary criminal proceeding.

What Does Substantial and Willful Mean?

You can have probation revoked under Florida law only if you violated probation terms and conditions in a material respect. You must have willfully and substantially violated probation conditions. The lower court has discretion in deciding whether there was a willful and substantial probation violation, and whether the greater weight of the evidence shows that you committed this type of violation. This makes it especially important to consult an experienced Volusia County probation violation attorney.

Probation violations may be found to be substantial and willful if they are substantive violations involving new crimes. If they are technical violations involving failed drug tests, a failure to complete programs that were part of probation, a failure to pay fines, or missing mandatory appointments with a probation officer, they must also be proven to be substantial and willful. Generally, if a probation officer is certified to administer a drug test, for example, the trial court has the discretion to revoke probation based only on the probation officer’s testimony.

Hire an Attorney to Keep Your Probation Intact

You should always take an accusation that you committed a probation violation seriously, whether the violation is technical or substantive. If you are facing this type of proceeding in Volusia County or Flagler County, you should consult the Law Office of Genine Ann Mejia about your options. Ms. Mejia can explore your situation and present the strongest available defense under the circumstances. Call us at 386-463-0849 or use our online form to set up a consultation with a probation violation lawyer in Volusia County.

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