Flaherty Defense Firm, Fort Walton Beach Criminal Lawyer
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Violation of Probation or Community Control in Fort Walton Beach

Being charged with violating the terms of your probation is a serious offense, one that can often result in extended jail time. If you have been accused, or are worried about a pending violation of your probation or community control in Fort Walton Beach, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side that can help you effectively fight these charges and try to keep you from serving jail time.

The burden of proof that the prosecutor has to meet for a VOP is a 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 that you violated.

One piece of advice: if you have a violation pending, you must continue to report as usual to your probation officer. If you don’t, that can be an additional violation.

Common Probation/Community Control Violations in Fort Walton Beach

If you have been charged with Violation of Probation (VOP) or Violation of Community Control (VOCC) it is probably for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Failing to report for monthly meeting
  • Being arrested for a secondary offense
  • Moving / changing residences without receiving approval ahead of time
  • Breaking a no-contact order
  • Failing to pay necessary fines / costs
  • Failing a urinalysis or breath test
  • Breaking any other explicitly stated terms of your probation

Should any of the above occur, a judge will be presented with a warrant application and affidavit of violation. Once the judge reviews and signs the warrant application, the warrant becomes active, and you can be arrested.

Getting a Bond for a VOP or VOCC in Fort Walton Beach

In most criminal cases, there is a presumption that you are entitled to a reasonable bond. The court will look at two issues before setting the bond amount:

  • Is the person a danger to the community?
  • Is the person a flight risk?

VOP and VOCC cases are different. You are NOT entitled to a bond for a VOP or VOCC. And most of the time, when the judge signs your arrest warrant, there will not be a bond set. In most cases, you will need to see a judge for a hearing called First Appearance before a bond can be set. And even then, sometimes the first appearance judge will not set a bond. In that case, you will be forced to remain in jail until I can get you in front of the judge assigned to your case for a Bond Hearing.

Either way, I will go to your First Appearance hearing and argue for your release. I will also get a Bond Hearing set as soon as possible.

I do not want my clients sitting in jail for one minute longer than necessary.

Defending VOP/VOCC cases in Fort Walton Beach

There are two main ways to defend these cases:

  • Deny the violation and demand an evidentiary hearing. You don’t have the right to a trial by jury in a VOP case, but you do have the right to have your case heard by the judge. Both sides can present evidence and the judge will decide. In order for the judge to find you guilty of VOP or VOCC, they must make a legal finding that the violation was Willful and Substantial. That is the legal standard. Obviously, I will argue on your behalf and try to make the argument that the violation was neither.
  • The second option is to admit that you violated your supervision and ask the judge for a sentencing hearing. I have had a lot of success with this approach in the past. At a sentencing hearing, we will be allowed to present any evidence we want the judge to consider.

Give Flaherty Defense Firm a call and we can talk about each of these options in more detail and also about which option is best for your situation.

I know what it takes to defend Violation of Probation/Community Control cases in Fort Walton Beach. Call me today at (850) 243-6097.

Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Inc.
NORML
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Avvo Clients Choice 2014
The National Trial Lawyers