Beginning in 1991 as a prosecuting attorney, Jeffrey A. Haynes has personally handled countless numbers of cases involving violations of probation or house arrest, and since entering private practice in 1996, Mr. Haynes has successfully represented hundreds of clients who have been accused of violating the conditions of their original sentence.
In Florida, a person who has either pled or been convicted of a criminal charge is often placed on probation. Probation is a form of supervision by the court system, and is a mechanism by which the judge and prosecutor monitor the individual’s progress. A person who is placed on probation must successfully complete all of the conditions of the original sentence, and must check in with his or her probation officer, normally on a monthly basis. While on probation, the person must avoid committing any new crimes.
In other cases, a person who has entered a plea will receive a sentence of community control, which is commonly referred to as “house arrest.” As the name implies, house arrest is a stricter form of supervision, where the person must adhere to a strict schedule of confinement at the subject’s residence, with certain exceptions. Depending upon the specific charge, this supervision may include an electronic or GPS monitoring device. House arrest is similar to probation in that the subject must successfully complete all of the conditions of the original sentence, or risk immediate arrest for non-compliance.
Commonly Asked Questions If You Have Been Charged With a Violation of Probation
The following questions are some of those commonly asked in a violation of probation case in the Twelfth Judicial Circuit, which includes Sarasota and Manatee Counties.
Will I be arrested if I violate my probation or house arrest?
It is extremely likely. Although judges have the discretion to allow someone to be served with a summons or a notice to appear, the policies in Sarasota and Manatee Counties generally favor issuing an arrest warrant. On many felony cases, the warrant often has a zero bond, which means the person cannot be released until the case is resolved, or unless the judge decides to set a bond at a later hearing. The law in Florida does not require the judge to set a bond on a violation of probation or violation of community control, which means the accused is not automatically entitled to a bond as a matter of law.
Am I facing jail time on my Sarasota or Bradenton violation of probation case?
Although it depends upon the facts of each case, a person who has violated probation is much more likely to receive a jail or state prison sentence than normal. If you have ever previously violated probation on the case, the likelihood of jail time increases substantially. For a person on felony probation or house arrest, 6 points are added to the original scoresheet each time a violation occurs. Once a person has accumulated 44 points or more on his or her scoresheet, under current Florida law a state prison sentence becomes mandatory.
My probation has been violated. What are my legal rights?
In order to prove a violation of probation or house arrest, prosecutors in the State of Florida must prove that the violation of probation was willful and substantial. A Judge must determine whether a violation occurred, since the accused person does not have the right to a jury trial. If your probation has been violated, you always have the right to be represented by an attorney. Although you would have the right to be “pro se”, which means to represent yourself, this is usually an unwise decision, since the judge will require you to know and follow the Florida Rules of Evidence and Criminal Procedure. Your lack of legal training will not excuse you from these requirements.