In order for the State to prove that you violated your probation, they must show by a preponderance of the evidence that you either failed to complete some required condition or violated a new law. Additionally, it must be shown that it was a willful and substantial violation in order to sustain the VOP case.
There are a variety of reasons why a person may have their probation violated. Some common reasons include the failure to pay fines and/or court costs, the failing of a drug test, and being arrested on a new charge.
In Florida, a technical violation is any violation that is not caused by picking up a new charge or being arrested for a new offense. It may be a failure to complete some ordered condition of probation or possibly not completing the terms of probation in a sufficient amount of time.
Some common technical violations include:
Failing to pay fines/court costs
The old adage goes: “You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip.” This is especially true when dealing with VOPs. In the tough economic times, we find ourselves in, many people struggle to pay rent and put food on the table, let alone give money to the government to cover fines and court costs. Many people are often times left with a tough choice: eat or pay my court costs. When this happens, it will be important to have an aggressive, protective, and effective attorney who understands what it means to fall on tough financial times and be able to show the Judge that your failure to pay was not willful but rather due to an inability to do so.
Positive drug test
A common misconception is that a positive drug test doesn’t lie and that they are always 100% accurate. This could not be further from the truth. A positive drug test needs to be scrutinized and challenged just as much as any other allegation in the VOP. Many people, and even attorneys don’t know that various factors can affect the outcome of a drug test. Issues such as how old the drug test is, in what condition it was kept, how the test was administered can all greatly affect the accuracy of a drug test and even give a false positive. Additionally, several medications and medical conditions can affect the accuracy of a drug test. You will need an aggressive, protective, and effective attorney to be able to properly assess whether there is a problem with the drug test administered to you.
Failure to complete community service hours or a court-ordered class
Your failure to complete required community service or attend a mandatory court class may cause your probation to be violated. Again, the State must be able to show that your failure was willful and this can be tough to do.
Often times, it will be in your best interest to do everything possible to successfully complete all required community service or court-ordered classes as quickly as possible in order to avoid serious sanctions. Without being able to show proof of completion or at least a significant effort to do so, the Judge may be unsympathetic to your situation.
A new arrest/charge will trigger a violation of probation. These must be dealt with just as aggressively as they would ordinarily be however it is important to understand that there are also many other issues involved when there is a pending VOP. It is important to understand that resolving your new case with a plea can and most likely will result in you proving the VOP for the State. Don’t put yourself in this position. Be sure your new law violation is taken care of appropriately in order to minimize potential consequences in your VOP case. Hiring an aggressive, protective, and effective attorney will ensure that things are handled appropriately.
In Florida, VOPs can carry significant consequences and punishment. If found to be in violation of your probation, the penalties can range anywhere from a warning to serious prison time depending on the original charge and the reason or cause of the violation.
Contact Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney Chris Kaigle if you’ve been charged with Violation of Probation in Florida!
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