Types of Probation in Florida Criminal Cases
Having a court order probation in a Florida criminal case is by far a better option than being imprisoned for a conviction. Many of your personal freedoms will remain intact, but you should make sure you understand what to expect. You must still meet several, very strict conditions, as ordered by the judge. The process is quite formal, requiring meetings with your probation officer, hearings in court, and other terms designated by your order of probation. Violations can have severe consequences, potentially a prison sentence that would have applied to your underlying crime. You should discuss eligibility, pros and cons, and other details with a knowledgeable Florida criminal defense attorney, but an overview of the types of probation may help.
Court Jurisdiction Over Probation: Both felony and misdemeanor offenders are eligible for probation, as the law makes the decision a matter of the judge’s discretion. There is a subtle difference between felony and misdemeanor probation, however. Florida’s court system provides for one court in each of the 67 counties in the state; these county courts handle misdemeanors. The Florida circuit court system oversees felony cases and probation.
Therefore, if you are facing misdemeanor charges in a criminal case, probation issues take place before the Broward County Trial Court. The 17th Circuit Court of Florida would handle a felony probation.
Though probation depends upon the judge’s discretion, you will not qualify if you have a criminal history. Certain violent crimes, offenses punishable by life in prison, and crimes eligible for the death penalty will not include probation.
Types of Probation in Florida: There are multiple types of probation, beyond the distinction between felonies and misdemeanors, including:
Standard Probation: The most common form of probation requires regular meetings with your probation officer, as well as possible curfew, agreeing to home visits, and avoiding any criminal activity.
- Administrative Probation: This form of probation is considered non-reporting, because the terms are generally the same as standard probation, without the requirement of regular meetings.
- Drug Offender Probation: You may be eligible for this type of probation if you committed certain drug crimes, and many of the conditions of standard probation apply. However, there is the addition of attending a substance abuse program and random drug tests.
- Sex Offender Probation: With this form of probation, you must adhere to a strict treatment program, and will be under intense supervision of a probation officer.
- Community Control: This is what you may equate with house arrest, where you can only go out of your home for certain designated purposes. You are under constant supervision of your probation officer, essentially amounting to custody.
For all types of probation, there will be a time period that the conditions apply. Once the probation period is over, and you comply with all the conditions, the criminal case concludes.
Discuss Standard Probation Conditions with a Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you would like to know more about the types of probation and eligibility rules, please contact attorney Kevin J. Kulik to schedule a consultation at our Fort Lauderdale, FL office. We can review your circumstances and provide more information on your options.