Violations of Probation in Florida

The most common violations of probation are: moving out of state without permission, failure to pay money before the last month of probation, and another arrest after placed on probation. Not every violation is enough to get you before a judge; some are considered “technical” and are not punished. However, it is important to understand that only a judge can decide what is “technical” and what is “willful and substantial”. The Florida probation officer is required to report to the Judge any violation. Your Florida probation officer cannot forgive or overlook a violation: he/she must send a violation report to your Judge and request a violation of probation warrant be issued. The Judge will review the Probation Officer’s report (called a “request” for a violation of probation warrant) and decide if the alleged violation is serious enough to justify issuing a warrant to arrest you and bring you before the Judge. At the first appearance you either admit or deny the alleged violation. If you deny the violation you will return to court for a final hearing: similar to a trial but without a jury and with a much lower proof requirement. The biggest problem is that in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and West Palm Beach you do not get a bail or bond if you are picked up on a violation of probation warrant. You will remain in jail for ten days before your first appearance hearing (admit or deny) and then remain in jail until the judge sets a final hearing. Some people in South Florida (Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Broward County) remain in jail for three to four months waiting for a final hearing. At the final hearing the State Attorney (prosecutor) must prove that you were advised of the conditions (see the probation statute for the list of minimum conditions imposed on all probationers in Florida) and the Judge must make a finding of fact. If the judge finds that a violation has occurred the Judge can do one of three things: Reinstate, reinstate and modify (add conditions or requirements or extend the term) or the Judge can sentence the violator to any term of jail or prison under the Florida Punishment Code for the charges that placed you in probation.