A probation violation is a serious criminal charge that may result in imprisonment or extended probation with additional conditions. You need an experienced defense lawyer on your side if you have been accused of a violation of probation. You have the right to challenge allegations that you have violated probation in some way. Acting quickly and involving an attorney to help you at these legal proceedings may make all the difference in your ability to successfully avoid serious penalties.
Challenging an Alleged Violation of Probation
The process involved with challenging probation violation allegations is different than the proceedings a person charged with a new crime will face. Because you are already on probation, you will have less protection. For example, you will not have the right to a jury trial for your violation hearing. You may be forced to testify against yourself, you do not have the right to a bond while awaiting your hearing and guilt does not need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. These factors often make it easier for the government to prove that you violated probation.
Although these issues may make your case more difficult to handle, there are effective defense strategies that your criminal defense attorney can employ to seek a successful outcome. This may include providing examples of your good character, challenging the alleged violation itself or bringing to light a violation of your rights or procedure that occurred in regard to your arrest or the charges of the probation violation itself. Carefully reviewing and investigating your case will enable your attorney to determine the best approach possible.
When a defendant is placed on probation in Florida, he or she must abide by specific terms in order to avoid imprisonment and further penalties. Some of these terms may include:
- reporting with a probation officer at regular intervals;
- attending drug or alcohol treatment/counseling;
- staying away from known criminals;
- keeping a clean record – no arrests or criminal charges;
- abstaining from alcohol and drugs;
- taking drug tests; and
- finding a job.
Violating any of these terms may result in probation violation accusations, and these may be based solely upon a probation officer’s account of events. Fortunately, a person on probation deserves due process of the law so he or she can fight probation violation charges. That is where a criminal defense lawyer comes in.