Violations of probation or community control are very serious matters that should not be taken lightly. What may seem like the benefit of a great bargain during the trial phase of your case when you avoided jail or prison time by agreeing to go on probation or community control, can now become significantly worse. You could also have been found guilty at trial by a judge or jury and as result placed on probation. Should the court find that you violated probation or community control, you will be exposed to the same amount of time you were facing originally. For example, if you were placed on probation for a third-degree felony, you could be facing up to five (5) years in state prison.
In addition, many times when a warrant is filed indicating that you violated your probation, you could be held in jail without bond until the matter is resolved. If you have violated conditions of probation or community control, or feel as if you are about to violate, time is of the essence and you must contact a Miami criminal defense lawyer immediately to discuss your case.
Probation Violation Hearings
The standard of proof in a probation violation hearing (preponderance of the evidence) is much lower than the standard of proof in a criminal trial (beyond a reasonable doubt). Therefore, it is much easier for the prosecutor, or State Attorney’s Office, to prove that a “willful” and “substantial” violation of the defendant’s probation occurred and not merely something “trivial.”
Another difference between a criminal trial and a probation violation hearing is that the trier of fact is the judge and not a jury of your peers.
Types of Probation Violations:
Substantive Probation Violation
A substantive probation violation comes about when you are arrested for a new offense. Witnesses can be called to testify against you, including your probation officer. The prosecutor can still proceed with the probation violation even if the charges of the new law violation are eventually dropped or not even filed. If you are facing a probation violation for a substantive violation, you are in for quite a fight as the court, judge and state prosecutor do not look toward repeat offenders in a favorable light.
Technical Probation Violation
A technical probation violation occurs when you fail to meet obligations ordered by the court. Terms of probation that can include, but are not limited to, failing to pay restitution, failing to pay fines or court costs, failing to report to your probation officer, failing to attend classes or moving without permission.
Defenses to a Violation of Probation Affidavit
Like any criminal charge, there may be defenses available to you in order to fight your probation violation charge. A violation of probation occurs when there is a “willful” and “substantial” violation of probation and its conditions. Each case must be reviewed and tried on an individualized, case-by-case basis. Once the evidence is presented and weighed then the court can make a finding that the violation is willful and substantial by a preponderance (greater weight) of the evidence.
A Miami probation violation attorney can show that you made reasonable efforts to comply with the terms and conditions of probation and therefore you should not be held to have violated probation. If it can be shown to the court that you acted in good faith and made reasonable efforts to comply with the conditions of probation, then you cannot be held to be in violation as a result of some factors that are outside of your control such as medical emergency or mental illness.
When charged with a probation violation, no matter how insignificant it may seem, it is imperative to seek the help of a Miami criminal defense attorney as soon as possible in order to ensure your rights are protected and every possible defense is investigated and explored.
Led by attorney Daniel Izquierdo, the Izquierdo Law Firm will work tirelessly to ensure that your rights are protected. I understand that any person charged with a crime is innocent until they are proven guilty. Izquierdo Law Firm will seek justice in your case and do so in an Aggressive, Personalized and Compassionate manner.
No matter how severe the charge may be, the consequences that may result are serious–both in the short term and long term. Izquierdo Law Firm, a Miami Criminal Defense Law Firm, understands the stress that this can cause a person and their loved ones.