Probation Violation Lawyer in Lakeland — Fighting to Keep Our Clients on the Right Side of the Law

America has far too many people behind bars. Even though some countries have a much higher population than ours, we still have more incarcerated individuals than anywhere else in the world. In truth, this problem would be even worse without the availability of the probation sentence. Our system allows those convicted of a crime to serve their time outside of jail. However, many issues can result in having this privilege revoked. If you’re in danger of this happening, contact a probation violation lawyer in Lakeland today.

At DeMichael Law, we’ve seen far too many people railroaded with violation of probation (VOP) charges. In these situations, you could end up in jail for claims that can’t be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. This is heartbreaking, considering the extreme consequences of incarceration. This is why you should do everything possible to avoid a conviction. At DeMichael Law, our Lakeland probation violation attorney will help you understand your options and how to move forward.

How Does Probation Work in Florida?

Put simply, probation is an alternative to incarceration in Florida. If a person pleads guilty or “no contest,” admits to the facts of a crime, or is found guilty in a court of law — a judge may sentence them to probation. This is often done in place of a jail sentence, but it’s also possible that a person will be sentenced to a pre-defined term in jail followed by a stint of probation. In all these situations, an individual must abide by specific provisions in order to avoid finishing their sentence behind bars.

Probation provisions can vary dramatically, case by case. These terms typically depend on the offense a person is charged with and their case’s unique circumstances. This typically requires a person to report to a probation officer (PO), but many other provisions are also possible. These could include maintaining employment, taking random drug tests, prohibiting firearm possession, staying away from certain people, or any other provision outlined by the court. If a person is accused of violating probation, they could be sentenced to jail.

What Probation Violations Can Lead to Arrest?

It’s important to realize that any violation can lead to arrest. This is why it’s so important to speak with a Lakeland probation violation attorney. Once you’re accused of something and a violation is reported, the wheels of the justice system are already in motion. Having your probation revoked can lead to serious consequences, so it’s important to understand the potential violations you could be charged with.

Technical Violation

A technical probation violation can occur if you fail to comply with the terms of your probation. This doesn’t involve the commission of a new crime. For instance, perhaps you simply missed a meeting with your probation officer, or you lost your job and are now unemployed. People also often experience technical violations when they don’t attend mandatory counseling or have positive drug tests. Your probation officer will typically issue a notice to appear rather than a warrant, but this is not always the case.

Substantive Violation

A substantive violation occurs when a person is suspected of committing a new crime. Notice that we did not say these probation violations require a conviction or even an arrest. If your probation officer suspects you’ve engaged in criminal activity, they can file paperwork with the court to issue a warrant. At that point, they need only prove by a preponderance of evidence that you did something wrong. This is a far lower standard than reasonable doubt, so it’s imperative for you to have a probation violation attorney in Lakeland on your side.

Should You Visit Your Probation Officer After a Violation?

If you’re contacted by our probation officer, it’s important that you act quickly. For a technical violation, you may need to do nothing more than explain yourself and correct the issue. This is often the case when it comes to missing appointments. However, what if you fail a drug test — or you’re suspected of committing a new crime? In these cases, visiting your PO will likely only result in an arrest.

Once a violation of probation has been reported, the officer overseeing your case typically can’t change anything. It’s out of their hands and up to the courts at that point. As such, you should contact a probation violation lawyer in Lakeland before doing anything. A legal professional may be able to avoid having your probation revoked. And in cases where this isn’t possible, they can help you turn yourself in and start working on your case.

What Are the Penalties for Violation of Probation in Florida?

If a probation hearing doesn’t go in your favor, the penalties for a violation can be severe. If your original charge was a first-degree misdemeanor, you might face one year of imprisonment and a $1,000 fine. The worst part about this is that it doesn’t matter when the violation of probation occurred. Even if you only had one day left in your probation sentence, a violation can result in a year behind bars.

Of course, people are often given probation for crimes that are more serious than misdemeanors. If your probation is revoked for a second-degree felony, you could find yourself in prison for up to 15 years. Even if you’re not imprisoned in these situations, the courts can still hand down stiffer penalties and add conditions to your release. Due to such severe consequences, speaking with a Lakeland probation violation lawyer is likely in your best interest.

Contact Our Probation Violation Lawyer in Lakeland Today

In a perfect world, the state and your probation officer would be committed to helping you stay out of jail. Unfortunately, this typically is not the case. In fact, it’s usually a desire to avoid overpopulation in jails — rather than the goodwill of the prosecutor — that results in probation sentences. This is why it’s so easy to find yourself accused of a violation — even when the claims against you cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Fortunately, you don’t have to face these difficulties on your own.

At DeMichael Law, we’re committed to helping our clients stay out of jail. Even short periods behind bars can result in lost jobs, family law issues, difficulties at school, and various other problems. This is why you should never forget that you’re entitled to legal representation — both in a criminal trial and a probation hearing. Don’t risk your freedom by going it alone. Contact us today by calling (863) 216-1831 to schedule your initial consultation. Our probation violation lawyer in Lakeland is here to help.