If you’ve been granted probation in your criminal defense, you know that it can be a bittersweet victory. On the one hand, you have avoided going to jail for a crime and retain your freedom. On the other hand, you must meet a set of strict conditions determined by a court. Our experienced attorneys understand that the conditions of probation can sometimes be quite strict and difficult to adhere to. Because of this, some people end up violating the terms of their probation, jeopardizing their freedoms and possibly facing stricter punishment.
Types of Probation in Florida
Probation conditions are able to be administered in both county and circuit courts for misdemeanor and felony charges, respectively. There are five types of probation in Florida: Administrative/Non-Reporting, Reporting, Drug Offender, Sex Offender, and Community Control. While all these varieties of probation are different due to the crimes they are associated with, they all share a common thread in that all conditions are met, probationers must be fully compliant, and that there is a zero-tolerance policy towards violation.
While other types of probation require a lengthy list of conditions and strict guidelines, Administrative or Non-Reporting probation is the most lenient form of probation. This type of probation is documented by local law enforcement, but typically the only requirement is to not get arrested during the duration of the probation. Administrative/Non-Reporting Probation is typically administered for low-level misdemeanors and crimes, and the purpose is to administer punishment for these crimes without having to deal with the rigors of other probation types. Should you violate Administrative/Non-Reporting probation, the consequences could be the same as with a reporting probation. As always, you should check with the courts for a details about the conditions of your probation.
Administrative/Non-Reporting Probation is also available to those who are on other types of probation, who have met all conditions of their probation, and are nearing the end of their sentence. This is beneficial to the probationer as the conditions are loosened. An application must be processed for this process.
Those that are currently enrolled in Administrative/Non-Reporting Probation may qualify for early termination if they have kept a clean record and are nearing the end of their probation period. An application must be submitted to qualify for early termination, and it’s a service that your criminal defense attorney (us!) can provide.
Reporting Probation is what we typically think of when referring to probation. Generally, this type of probation requires the need to report to a probation officer, thus it’s descriptive name. Florida State Statute 948.03 dictates many guidelines and conditions probationers must adhere to, including:
- Reporting to a probation officer as directed
- Consenting to home visits
- Working at suitable employment
- Remaining within a specified place (county, state, etc.)
- Not breaking any laws
- Making restitution
- Supporting your dependents
- Any other additional conditions a judge may appoint
While the conditions may vary depending on the crime, the most important aspect of this probation is that a probationer is reporting to and being supervised by a probation officer.
Drug Offender Probation
Florida has some of the strictest laws in regards to drug crime, as it is often a hotbed for drug importation and trafficking. Due to this, Florida has specific guidelines for probationers who have committed drug crimes to ensure that even while on probation, punishment is enforced. Conditions include:
- Random drug testing
- Substance abuse evaluation and treatment
- Curfew between 10pm and 6am
- Restrictions on travel/remaining in your designated county
- Maintaining suitable employment
If you are convicted of a drug crime and are granted probation, you will lose your driver’s license for a period of 2 years. After 6 months, you may apply for a hardship license, which will allow you to drive to work, school, and other necessary locations. The length of a Drug Offender Probation can vary between 18 months and 2 years.
Sex Offender Probation
Known as the most difficult type of probation, Sex Offender Probation has many strict conditions that are closely supervised, making balancing the line between violation and compliance very difficult. Conditions include:
- A mandatory curfew from 10pm to 6am
- If the victim was a minor, prohibition of living within 1,000 feet of a school, playground, park, or location where children congregate.
- Participation and completion of a sex offender treatment program
- Prohibition of any contact with the victim or their family
- If the victim was a minor, prohibition of contact with any child under the age of 18
- If the victim was a minor, prohibition from working at or volunteering at any location where children congregate
- Prohibition of consuming media related to the offender’s deviant behavior pattern
- Prohibition of accessing the internet until a sex offender practitioner approves and goes over appropriate guidelines for it’s use
- Submission of blood or DNA sample to Department of Law Enforcement to be registered with DNA bank
- Making restitution to the victim
- Submission to warrant-less search of probationer’s house, vehicle, etc.
- Annual polygraph and risk-management analysis of probationer’s response to treatment
- Maintenance of a driving log and prohibition of driving somewhere alone without the permission of a probation officer
- Prohibition of owning a P.O. box unless approved by a probation officer
- If there was sexual contact, a mandatory HIV test to be taken and shared with victim
- Electronic monitoring if deemed necessary by probation officer
- Prohibition of distributing candy on Halloween to children, dressing up as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or any other character that may appeal to children
Community Control Probation
Community Control Probation, more commonly known as “house arrest,” is a form of strict supervision imposed by a court. In this type of probation, freedoms are restricted and sanctions are enforced. During a community control probation, probationers are permitted to live in their homes but are restricted from leaving except for limited and approved purposes. As with all other types of probation, there is zero tolerance in regards to it’s violation.
Probation Violation in Pinellas County, Florida
If a probationer has violated the terms of their probation in any way, a probation officer has the right to place the probationer under immediate arrest or submit an affidavit for the warrant for an arrest. In the event of a probation violation, it’s imperative that a probationer seek legal representation to prove that the probation was not violated intentionally and explain the reasons for the violation. A Probation Violation Hearing may be ordered, where there will be no jury or opportunity for bond. If a judge finds that a probationer materially and willfully violated a probation, they may be sentenced to jail time determined for the original crime minus the time they have already served.
Contact Pinellas Criminal Law For Probation Violation Defense
If you have violated any form of probation in the state of Florida, it is important that you seek legal representation fast. Probation violation is not taken lightly, and your freedoms and livelihood are on the line. Our team of experienced attorneys can help protect your rights and freedoms. Contact us today!