VIOLATION OF PROBATION FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
In Florida, in almost every jurisdiction, a violation of probation allegation could mean weeks in jail before a real hearing to resolve the matter. Many clients and families are often frustrated by the lack of information and inability to get of jail when they call our office. The process can be overwhelming so we are here to help.
Nicholas G. Matassini, a former prosecutor, is Board Certified in Criminal Trial Law by the Florida Bar and has successfully handled hundreds of violation of probation cases. There are some special considerations in these Tampa criminal cases that he will discuss here.
- What does a violation of probation mean?
Since you were placed on some form of supervision by the Court, there are rules to follow. A violation of probation means you have allegedly violated one or more of those rules in some fashion. The probation officer usually types up a report regarding the nature of the violation and sends it to the judge that placed you on probation. The judge can issue a warrant for your arrest or order you to appear at a hearing on the matter.
- My probation officer said she is going to violate me for a “technical”, does that mean I will still go to jail?
Yes, a “technical” violation is still a serious matter and will often result in a warrant for your arrest. A technical violation means there is some specific rule that you have run afoul of or violated somehow. It can be for failing a urine screen, changing addresses without permission, violating curfew restrictions, or failure to perform community service hours. Sometimes a private lawyer can file a motion asking the judge to hear the violation of probation without the client having to be taken into custody.
- Do I get a bond and can I get out of jail after I have been arrested for a violation of probation?
Most often the answer is, No! Most jurisdictions have an administrative order that requires a felony defendant to be held without bond until he or she is brought before the judge responsible for handling violation of probation cases. A private lawyer can often speed up the process of getting a court hearing sooner than the public defender and can often start trying to resolve the violation with the prosecutor before the court date.
- I did not commit the violation and I want to fight the allegations. What happens?
Every defendant is entitled to a trial on the violation allegations, however it is done before a judge and not a jury. Scheduling one of these trials often takes time. Hiring a private lawyer can often mean getting a hearing date sooner. Every violation of probation case is a serious matter. Clients should seek a lengthy consultation with their lawyer to discuss the pros and cons of a trial and to go over all available options.
- If I am sentenced on the violation of probation can I go to prison?
Yes, defendants who violate their probation can often face the maximum penalty allowed under the law at the time of the original sentencing. So for instance, if you were placed on probation for possession of cocaine ( a five-year maximum felony) and placed on probation, you could face up to five years in prison for the violation. If you were placed on probation for selling cocaine then you could be looking at a 15-year prison sentence. An experienced lawyer can usually help the client get out of jail and avoid the harshest sentences.
Contact The Matassini Law Firm to handle your Tampa Bay area violation of probation matter. Nicholas G. Matassini is Board Certified in Criminal Trial Law and is AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell. Convenient payment plans are available. www.matassinilaw.com