Violation of Probation (VOP) Charges in Polk County
A Lakeland attorney you can trust to make sure your rights are protected
Probation is meant to be a second chance, but it can also lead to further legal consequences. Violating your probation can be a serious offense. It can potentially result in returning to jail to serve out your time behind bars, instead of out in the free air adhering to the terms of your probation.
Unfortunately, many offenders find themselves violating their probation. While the terms of probation can be quite strict, it is vital to adhere to them to successfully complete the term of your probation and avoid further jail time.
What many people don’t know is that a qualified criminal defense lawyer can help you navigate the terms of your probation. The right lawyer can help keep you on the best possible footing as you move through the probation system. A lawyer may even be able to help get certain probation violations dismissed. If you’re facing charges for violating probation, you need Thomas C. Grajek, Attorney at Law on your side.
What constitutes a violation of probation?
A probation violation occurs any time you willingly fail to adhere to the terms of your probation. This could involve failing to adhere to terms specific to your probation, or it could involve committing another crime.
Some of the most common probation violations include:
- Failure to meet with your probation officer at a scheduled meeting
- Failing to pay fines or restitution ordered by the court
- Traveling outside of the state without permission from your probation officer
- Visiting or conducting business with certain individuals
- Using any type of illegal drugs
- Getting arrested (for any reason)
- Committing other crimes not related to your probation
- Not completing a substance abuse treatment program
- Failure to perform community service hours
- Violating your curfew
Your punishment for a probation violation can be decided by a judge, or determined in negotiations between the prosecutor and your VOP attorney. They may issue a simple warning or require you to come to court for a probation violation hearing. Violating your probation can result in increased probation time, heavy fines, and prison sentences in some cases.
What happens during a probation violation hearing?
A probation violation hearing is similar to a normal court hearing. You are entitled to have an attorney represent you at a probation violation hearing.
During a probation violation hearing, the prosecuting attorney will argue in front of a judge why you have violated your probation. Your lawyer may represent you in your defense and present evidence and witnesses to argue your case.
What are the penalties for violating probation in Florida?
If the judge determines that you have violated your probation, you will be sentenced at the judge’s discretion or according to the sentencing guidelines. Sentencing can include fines, additional terms of probation, lengthening of your probation, jail time, or revocation of probation which requires you to serve the remainder of your jail sentence.
How long do you go to jail for a probation violation?
It depends on the severity of the underlying charge and the nature of the violation. Not all probation violations result in jail time; sometimes the consequences are additional fines, community service, longer probation time, or additional terms of probation. However, for more severe violations or if you originally scored prison time, you may be jailed for the violation itself, or your probation may be revoked – meaning you have to go back to jail to serve your original sentence.
In addition, violating your probation adds points to your Scoresheet. You may have not scored prison time originally, but a VOP can place you into a mandatory prison sentence.
Can a probation violation be dismissed?
Yes. With help from a qualified attorney, it is possible to get probation violations dismissed.
Your probation officer does not have the final say in probation violations. That falls to the judge who presides over your probation violation hearing. If the judge determines that you did not violate your probation, the probation violation will be dismissed and you will not suffer any additional penalties.
To have a probation violation dismissed, it is vital to have a strong legal defense and ample evidence that you did not violate your probation.
Speak with a Lakeland probation violation attorney today
Without a qualified attorney with experience in handling probation violations, the odds of having your probation violation dismissed are extremely low. Because your probation violation hearing is initiated by your probation officer, judges will rarely dismiss the charge without sufficient evidence to argue against the probation violation. This means that you need a strong legal argument in your favor to have any hope of getting the probation violation dismissed — the kind of legal argument which can only be mounted by an experienced attorney.
If you are facing any sort of probation violation, contact me for a free consultation. I can both assist in the specific instance of a probation violation and also help you navigate the terms of your probation and improve your outcome. There’s no cost for the initial consultation, just answers about your legal rights and options.