Understanding the Conditions of Your Probation

After you've committed a crime, hire a criminal defense lawyer in Jacksonville, gone to trial and were found guilty, you will be sentenced. Often, that sentence will include probation, especially for first-time offenders.

Probation comes with many rumors from others that have been on probation in the past. If your sentence includes probation, it's important to understand the conditions of your probation. Here are a few things you should understand when you're on probation.

The Myths

One of the biggest myths about probation in Florida has to do with credit given for time spent on probation. Some states do this, but Florida isn't one of them. Instead, the jail or prison time you may face if you violate probation isn't limited to what is remaining on your probation time.

However, with a strong criminal defense attorney on your side, you may be able to persuade a judge to keep you out of jail and on probation. This will likely include taking specific steps to mitigate the probation violation.

Another myth with probation is how expensive it is. While it can cost as much as $105 per week, if you must be electronically monitored, there are ways to keep the costs down.

If you're truly struggling financially, you can talk to your probation officer. They have the ability to submit a request to the court for a lower cost or to have the cost waived. Your attorney can also do this when you're sentenced.

The Rules

It's important to understand all the rules of your probation because breaking a rule is a probation violation. This can land you in jail or prison, and at least, cost you more money and time on probation.

A probation violation must be "substantial and willful" based on the Florida case of State v. Carter, 835 So.2d 259 (Fla. 2002). Some of the things you should avoid doing while on probation include:

  • Associating with convicted felons
  • Hanging out at bars or other locations known for drug sales
  • Avoid breaking the law and even traffic violations
  • Be honest with your probation officer
  • Avoid use of drugs or alcohol

If you fail a drug test or an alcohol test while on probation, you will likely end up in jail without bond. Make sure you speak with your probation officer or attorney for a full list of the rules associated with your probation.

Mitigating Probation Violations

The first thing you should do if you've violated your probation call Tassone, Dreicer & Hill for representation. You may have to turn yourself in. While this may not keep you out of jail, it communicates to the court that you're taking things seriously.

In addition, if you don't turn yourself in, it could lead to another probation violation. This could lead to avoiding a meeting with your probation officer, which is a violation known as "absconding" from probation.

By turning yourself in, you give a good Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer a chance to argue to mitigate your violation.

If you've violated your probation or you've been accused of doing so, you need a good criminal attorney on your side. Make sure you consult an attorney to ensure you know what could happen and you have someone in your corner fighting for you.