Do I Need An Attorney For A Florida Probation Violation?
Probation is an available option in many Florida criminal cases, either in lieu of jail time after a conviction or pursuant to a deferred adjudication resolution to the charges. State criminal laws include probation and community control, enabling a defendant to remain free during the time period imposed by the court; in exchange, the person is required to comply with a set of rules. You are probably thrilled that you will not be incarcerated if you received a sentence of probation, but it is critical to understand that your case is still within the criminal justice system. Incarceration remains a part of your sentence, even though probation suspends jail time.
As a result, there are substantial penalties for violating the terms of probation. If you have reason to believe you will be called before the court, you may be wondering whether legal representation is necessary. The short answer is that you definitely do need a Fort Lauderdale probation violation attorney to advocate on your behalf. The following reasons should convince you.
Help with Conditions of Probation
Anyone on probation must abide by the standard rules issued by the court, including:
- Meeting with a probation officer;
- Remaining employed or in school;
- Paying fines, court costs, and fees; and
- Not getting arrested again.
The judge may also impose special rules based upon your circumstances, the nature of the crime, and other factors. For instance, you might be required to attend substance abuse sessions or pay restitution to a victim. A violation of any standard or special condition of probation could result in court action.
Assistance with Strategy
Upon receiving notice of the probation violation, you can assess the allegations by officials. The documentation will include details on how you broke the rules, which will lay the foundation for developing a legal strategy. Legal help is critical as you prepare for the court hearing, and getting it early ensures your attorney has sufficient time to address your options.
Support at the Probation Violation Hearing
The proceeding takes place in a courtroom, but it is less formal than a trial in a Florida criminal case. Still, many of the same rules and protections apply as far as evidence and your constitutional rights. There are generally three ways a judge will rule:
- For a minor breach of the rules, you may just receive a warning and the terms of your probation may not change.
- A more serious violation may lead the judge to modify the rules, perhaps by extending the period of probation or requiring additional substance abuse treatment.
- If you are arrested again, have violated probation before, or broke a critical rule, the judge could revoke probation. Your original sentence stands, so you could end up in jail.
A Florida Probation Violation Lawyer Will Protect Your Rights
You may have made a mistake by violating the terms of probation, so do not put your rights at risk by trying to represent yourself at a probation violation hearing. Our team can help, so please contact attorney Kevin J. Kulik to schedule a free consultation at our Fort Lauderdale office.