Attorney Joseph Soler
Can I violate my probation (VOP) or community control if I can't afford to pay?
If you do not pay your fines and fees (court costs, restitution, probation costs of supervision, etc.) and it was ordered as a condition of your probation or community control to have done so, a probation officer may violate you and a warrant for your arrest may issue. You may be picked up on that warrant and put in jail.
HOWEVER, at your violation of probation or community control hearing, the state must prove that you had the ability to pay your fines and fees, and willfully did not, in order for your probation or community control to be revoked.
The judge must determine, at a VOP hearing or revocation of community control hearing, the reasons for the failure to pay the fines or fees. The judge will likely consider factors such as your employment status, earning ability, financial resources, and any other special circumstances that may have a bearing on your ability to pay.
In other words, if you are unemployed or under-employed, and/or you are spending all of your money on necessities for you and your family and you have no money afterwards, then you may not have the ability to pay your court fines and fees.
Be aware that oftentimes a probation officer will violate you for a number of different reasons (called allegations). The state only needs to prove one of those in order for your probation or community control to be revoked. The above information applies to situations where the only allegation of VOP in the warrant is for failure to pay fines and fees.
Visit the Soler & Simon Violation of Probation page to learn all about VOP's and how we can help you.
The law is complex and complicated. Do not rely on this or any other information that you read on the internet to decide your best course of action. Please contact us at (941) 444-5128 to discuss your case.