Violation of Probation can mean prison. In South Florida criminal defendants are often given the option of an extended probation rather than incarceration. It can sound like a safe alternative to a trial and possible incarceration…but it is more often a slippery slope glide to prison. The numbers don’t lie.
If you are arrested for a criminal charge in South Florida ask your Florida criminal defense attorney if probation is easy. It definitely is not. If Probation is hard, community control is almost impossible.
Probation violations come in two types: “technical” and substantive. A violation of probation warrant is requested by the supervising probation officer, sent to a criminal judge who, if he signs it, creates the violation of probation warrant which requires your arrest and detention. In South Florida criminal courts, particularly in Broward County, the jail holds you for ten days before the judge brings you up for a first violation of probation hearing. At the first hearing you are given an opportunity to read the violation of probation warrant and you either admit or deny. If you admit then the judge can do one of three things: 1) sentence you to a jail or prison term 2) modify probation or community control to add special conditions or a jail or prison term followed by probation or more community control, or 3) just return you to probation and reinstate all conditions.
A violation of probation requires a finding by the judge that the violation is both willful and substantial. A Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney can advise you on just what that means. Suspend all common sense here because there are literally thousands of written opinions that deal with the definition of what willful and substantial means. It is a very fact specific area of law and must be researched fully before you can make an intelligent and informed decision on what to do. Rely on experience rather than impulse when selecting a south Florida criminal defense attorney. Ask for a case on point before you decide to admit or deny the violation of probation warrant. Know the facts and know the law: in this area it is more important to have a case to cite the judge than an argument to present. Judges’ respond to case law with a ruling that is consistent with the findings of an appellate court and are bound by a higher court’s ruling. Know the law before you resolves a violation of probation warrant means have a case to bring to court. An experienced South Florida criminal defense lawyer will have an armful of cases in his head, forgive the metaphor. There is no substitute for hard work and experience. Believe it!