After being sentenced to probation or community control, it may feel like there is a dark cloud looming over your head. You may feel like your probation officer is just waiting on you to mess up so they can violate you. If your Crestview probation officer is alleging that you violated your probation or community control, call Flaherty & Merrifield at (850) 398-8098 and let us help you.
My name is Tim Flaherty. I have been representing clients facing Violations of Probation (VOP) and Violations of Community Control (VOCC) in Crestview since 2001. Brandy Merrifield is my partner. She has worked with me since 2007. We know how the judges and prosecutors operate in these types of cases, and have the experience needed to defend these serious allegations. When you are facing a Violation of Probation or Community Control, the worst thing you can do is face it alone. Let our Crestview probation violation lawyers help you get back on track.
In what ways can my probation or community control be violated?
When you accept a plea offer of probation or community control, the State now has the legal authority to supervise you and intrude into your life for the entire term of supervision. With your probation officer standing over your shoulder and watching your every move, there are many ways in which your supervision could be violated. Here are some of the most common violations we see in Crestview:
- Being arrested for a new criminal offense;
- Being in the presence of other individuals engaging in criminal violations;
- Failure to pay mandatory fines and court costs;
- Failure to pay monthly supervision fees;
- Traveling out of the jurisdiction without first obtaining the permission of your probation officer;
- Missing an appointment with your probation officer without a valid excuse;
- Testing positive for any controlled substance;
- Failing to complete community service hours;
- Failing to complete drug treatment classes within an allotted time;
- Failure to maintain employment;
- Changing residence without prior permission from your probation officer; and
- Failure to pay restitution, if it was court ordered.
Of course, this is not an all-inclusive list of possible violations; you could also be facing a violation of probation or community control for violating any other specific terms of your supervision. If your probation officer believes you violation the terms of your probation in any material and willful way, you can be violated. See Florida Statutes § 948.06.
What happens after my Crestview probation officer files a Violation of Probation Affidavit?
After your officer alleges a violation, they will file an affidavit with the Court, stating what the violations are. They will also include a summary of any outstanding requirements and any prior violations of your probation. This will be reviewed by either Judge Flowers or Judge Ward, depending if your case was a felony or a misdemeanor. The judge typically then signs a warrant for your arrest and determines whether or not to put a bond on the warrant. Most of the time, if a violation is alleged, the judge will not put a bond on the warrant and you must turn yourself in to the county jail and see a judge for a First Appearance hearing.
With a Violation of Probation or a Violation of Community Control, you are NOT entitled to a bond, and could be sitting in jail until your case is resolved. Even at First Appearance, the judge is not required to set a bond. Some judges will allow a bond to be set and some won’t. This is one of the main reasons is it so imperative to have a team fighting to get you a bond on the violation so you are not sitting in jail any longer than you have to.
What does the State have to prove to charge me with a Violation of Probation?
Under Florida law, the burden of proof that the prosecutor has to meet for a VOP is a much lower burden than a regular criminal case. A regular case requires the State to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. For a VOP, they only have to prove it by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that they only have to show that it is slightly more likely than not (51%) that you violated.
What are the possible outcomes of my Violation of Probation/Community Control?
There are three different outcomes in VOP/VOCC cases. The judge can either:
- Reinstate your probation
- Modify your probation; or
- Revoke your probation.
The best-case scenario is a reinstatement of probation, with no additional requirements or sanctions. If the judge chooses to modify your probation in Crestview, you could be sentenced to community control, additional sanctions could be added, and your probation term could be extended. If the judge revokes your probation, you could be sentenced to jail or prison, depending on the original charges.
Can an attorney help me with a pending Violation of Probation or Community Control in Crestview?
As your attorneys, we will argue the merits of the violation itself, with the main goal in mind being a dismissal of the violation. If the facts of your case do not allow for a dismissal of the violation, we will work to get your probation reinstated. Our main goal will be to keep you out of jail.
If your Crestview Probation or Community Control officer has alleged a Violation against you, call Flaherty & Merrifield at (850) 398-8098 and let us help.