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 broke a new law. Additionally, it needs to show that the VOP was a willful and substantial violation to sustain the VOP case.
There are a variety of reasons why a person may have their probation violated. Some common causes include the failure to pay fines and 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 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 must decide on a tough choice: eat or pay my court costs. When this happens, it will be essential to have an aggressive, protective, and competent 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 significantly 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 competent attorney to be able to accurately 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 inability 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, it will be in your best interest to do everything possible to complete all required community service or court-ordered classes as quickly as possible to avoid severe 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 essential to understand that there are also many other issues involved when there is a pending VOP. It is necessary to realize 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 to minimize potential consequences in your VOP case. Hiring an aggressive, protective, and competent attorney will ensure that things are handled appropriately.
In Florida, VOPs can carry significant consequences and punishment. If found to violate 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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