Articles Posted in Violation of Probation

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Have you violated your felony probation?  If you have, a recent change in the law may help you avoid a lengthy prison sentence resulting from your violation.

Until recently, section 948.06(2)(a), Florida Statutes (2015), provided if you admitted to a charged violation of probation, the court could “forthwith revoke, modify, or continue” your probation. If the court revoked your probation, then it could issue any sentence which it might have originally imposed before placing you on probation.  Therefore, if your underlying offense was a third-degree felony, you faced up to five years in prison for your violation.  If your underlying offense was a second-degree felony, at the time of sentencing you faced up to a statutory maximum sentence of fifteen years in prison. And, if your underlying offense was a first-degree felony you faced up to thirty years in prison for your violation of probation.

The good news is substantial amendments to section 948.06 took effect on October 1, 2019. See Ch. 2019-167, § 63, Laws of Florida. The new law added subparagraph (f)1. to section 948.06(2).  That section provides:

Except as provided in subparagraph 3. or upon waiver by the probationer, the court shall modify or continue a probationary term upon finding a probationer in violation when any of the following applies:

  1. The term of supervision is probation.
  2. The probationer does not qualify as a violent felony offender of special concern, as defined in paragraph (8)(b).
  3. The violation is a low-risk technical violation, as defined in paragraph (9)(b).
  4. The court has not previously found the probationer in violation of his or her probation pursuant to a filed violation of probation affidavit during the current term of supervision. A probationer who has successfully completed sanctions through the alternative sanctioning program is eligible for mandatory modification or continuation of his or her probation.

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Has your Probation Officer either threatened to violate, or actually violated, your probation?  If so, there are many ways a knowledgeable Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer can help prevent, or substantially reduce, any adverse effects on you.  A recent case from the First District Court of Appeal provides one example.

Jalyn Viriginia Brownsworth plead no contest to grand theft and was sentenced to 24 months of probation. Shortly after imposition of sentence, her probation officer filed an affidavit of violation of probation alleging Jalyn had failed to submit to undergo a required drug/alcohol evaluation.

At the revocation hearing, Jalyn’s probation officer testified she had been scheduled for an evaluation that later required rescheduling.  The probation officer further testified that when she later contacted the evaluation facility staff, she was told Jalyn failed to attend the rescheduled appointment.  Based on Jalyn’s purported failure to attend the rescheduled evaluation as related by the probation officer, the trial court found Jalyn to have violated her probation.  Jalyn appealed. Continue reading

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Violation of probation is a serious charge.  Judges generally don’t like it when you’ve failed to comply with requirements ordered by them.  And, the punishment can be severe, including up to the maximum penalty you might have received for the underlying charge for which you are on probation.

The good news is if you have been deemed to be in violation of your probation, you often may have some defense to the charge. Two such defenses are that your violation was neither willful nor substantial.  The applicability of these defenses to a charge of violation of probation was demonstrated in a recent Duval County case.

Alfred James Scott, who had no prior criminal record pled guilty to one count of sale of marijuana.  He was sentenced to a ninety-day suspended sentence, followed by twenty-one months of probation.  The suspended sentence was conditioned upon Scott securing a full-time job, which Scott represented he would obtain at Home Depot. Continue reading

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