Probation Violation in Florida
The primary function of community supervision or probation is to protect the surrounding community by supervising offenders. Probation officers enforce certain standards and conditions imposed by Florida laws and the court. Special conditions may include monthly reports, monthly fees, restitution, court ordered classes, community service, and employment. Probation officers conduct investigations, including pre-sentence investigations, other state investigations, and violation reports. Probation officers will also make appropriate referrals to the offender that will assist him or her with available resources to help complete the terms and conditions of their probation successfully. Depending on the type of probation, officers will conduct drug tests, interviews, and investigations on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. In addition to office reporting, officers visit the offenders at home, employment sites and a variety of field locations. It is the goal of Community Corrections to ensure offender compliance with the orders of the sentencing /releasing authority in order to protect the public, and reduce victimization; while lowering recidivism by addressing the needs of the offender.
In the state of Florida, Violation of Probation or VOP occurs when an offender that has been sentenced to probation, does not comply with the terms and conditions of probation and willfully and substantially violates the probationary conditions. Typically, the consequences of probation violation depended on a range of factors such as the nature and severity of the violation, the history of violations, and circumstances that may have worsened or lessened the severity of the situation. Generally, probation violation occurs when the offender avoids, refuses, ignores, commits more crimes, or breaks the terms and conditions of the probation during any time of the probationary period.
Common Types of Violations
Law Violations/New Offenses
Positive drug test
Failure to complete drug treatment
Failure to pay financial obligations
Acts resulting in mental illness
Acts resulting from ineptitude or negligence
Missed reports or appointments
Traveling out of state or country without permission
Changing home address without permission
Not completing court ordered classes/community service
Not being employed
Warning - Commonly, if the offender violates for the first time, the probation officer will give him or her an initial warning and notify the offender of the next possible consequences if he or she violates again. Usually this occurs with technical violations such as non-payment or failed drug test.
Community service - A probation officer may order the offender to perform community service as a means of correcting or rehabilitating the negative behavior.
Rehabilitation - If the probation officer finds the offender in violation due to alcohol or substance abuse, he or she may order the offender to enroll into a rehabilitative center. If the offender refuses, he or she can be sent back to jail.
Counseling - If the probation officer finds violations are occurring due to mental illness, emotional stress, or other underlying problems, he or she may order the offender to seek counseling services
Increased probationary time - If a probation officer feels the offender is not complying with probation conditions, has not paid financial obligations, keeps violating,or feels the offender is not ready to re-enter society unsupervised, the officer may lengthen the probationary time. This will result in the offender serving a longer probation sentence.
Probation violation hearing - If a probation officer has warned the offender several times and violations reoccur, or the severity of the violation warrants a hearing, the officer may arrange a probation violation hearing. At this time, the officer will use his discretion to inform the courts of the violations and his or her recommendations to the court. The recommendations may include incarceration or reinstatement of probation with special conditions to the offender. Once the judge considers all the severity and nature of the violation and history of violations, he or she will impose a sentence for the offender. This will either reinstate, revoke or modify the offenders probation.
New charges - If the probation officer finds the offender has committed a new crime while on probation, the offender will face the new charges as well as a Violation of Probation (VOP) charge and the offender will be put in jail.
Jail - Certain types of violations or consistent violations will land the offender in jail. A probation officer will only give the offender a few chances to violate. Eventually, the officer will see no change within the offender to comply with the probation conditions and will send the offender to jail on a (VOP) Violation of Probation. In Florida, there is no right to bond on a VOP charge.
****If a judge revokes the offenders probation, Florida law allows the judge to impose the original sentence up to the maximum penalty for the original charge.****
Defenses of Probation Violation
Inability to prove violation/Insufficient evidence