Probation violations are common in Florida, but they’re something the law takes very seriously. It’s important to understand what might constitute a probation violation and how violation cases differ from criminal cases. Here’s what you should know about what a probation violation is and what happens after a probation violation.

What Constitutes a Probation Violation?

The terms of probation are different for every person convicted of a crime. However, some of the most common probation violations include:

  • Being arrested for another crime
  • Failing to submit to a required drug or alcohol screening
  • Failure to obtain a negative result on a required drug or alcohol screening
  • Failure to pay restitution if ordered by the court
  • Failure to report a change of address
  • Failure to miss a meeting with the assigned probation officer without a reasonable excuse or prior notification

Once you are put on probation, you should become very familiar with your specific terms. It’s possible to violate probation and not even be aware you did if you’re not 100% certain of what does and doesn’t constitute a violation in your unique case.

What Is the Biggest Difference Between Criminal Proceedings and Violations of Probation?

In a criminal case, you need to be found guilty beyond reasonable doubt in order to be convicted of a crime. However, this is not the same standard that is used for cases of probation violation. All a prosecutor must prove in a probation violation case is by a preponderance of the evidence that you more than likely violated your probation. This lower standard of proof results in many violation convictions, which can have harsh penalties.

What Happens If You Violate Your Probation?

In some cases, you may only receive a warning. In other cases, you may receive added community service time, or in severe cases, your probation may be revoked and you may be arrested and made to serve your full sentence. There is a great deal of leeway that trial courts have to determine how a person is penalized for violating their probation, making it difficult to know exactly what will happen if you are found guilty of violation.

Why Legal Representation Is So Important in Probation Cases

Because the standard of proof is so low and trial courts can assign penalties with much more freedom than criminal courts can, it’s critical to have trustworthy legal representation in a probation violation case. Contact T. Martin Knopes P.A. for experienced legal advocacy in Florida by calling 850-683-0700.