What are the Standard Terms of Probation in Florida?
If you were arrested on criminal charges in Florida, you may be wondering about probation as an alternative to a prison sentence. You are probably familiar with the term, but there are very specific requirements and rules under the Probation and Community Control section of the Florida penal code. Generally, probation means that you will not go to jail for your crime. Probation is often the preferred option for the State of Florida as well. There are significant costs to taxpayers to holding you in jail, especially for a minor offense.
However, there are still implications when a judge orders probation in lieu of prison time. You remain under the court’s authority for the time period of your probation as designated by the order. As such, you must comply with all rules established by the judge, which typically include standard conditions of probation. The consequences for violating the terms are considerable: You face the same sentence that you would have for the underlying crime, had the judge not ordered probation. An experienced criminal defense attorney can explain in more detail, but a summary may be helpful.
The judge has considerable leeway in deciding whether or not to order probation instead of incarceration for a crime. The statute states that a court may use discretion to impose a fine, and either probation or community control as an alternative to jail time. Still, if you have a criminal history, you will generally not qualify. The nature of the crime is another eligibility factor. An arrest for a violent crime or drug offense may prevent a court from giving probation.
Standard Conditions of Probation in Florida
Every case is different, so the exact terms of your probation will depend on the crime itself and the surrounding circumstances. However, the standard conditions of probation include:
- Reporting to your probation supervisor as directed by the judge’s order;
- Allowing the probation officer to visit your residence, place of employment, or other places you frequent;
- Remaining employed in an appropriate job, such that you can provide financial support to your dependents;
- Staying within the county or state borders;
- Avoiding arrest on new criminal charges;
- Paying restitution to compensate victims who were harmed by the offense;
- Staying away from individuals who are engaged in criminal or suspected criminal activities;
- Providing biological samples for drug and/or alcohol testing when requested;
- Not using any controlled substances unless you have a valid prescription from a doctor; and,
- Not possessing, purchasing, or carrying firearms.
Discuss Standard Probation Conditions with a Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer
Even considering the strict requirements for standard terms of probation in Florida, the arrangement is probably preferable to imprisonment under any circumstances. Plus, as long as you remain in compliance with the conditions, the matter will come to a close when your probationary period expires. If you would like more information on probation, rules, and eligibility, please contact attorney Kevin J. Kulik by calling our Fort Lauderdale, FL office at 954-761-9411. We can schedule a consultation to review your circumstances and develop a strategy to get probation in lieu of jail time.