Should I hire an attorney for a VOP?
VOP's are dangerous because they are sometimes easy for a prosecutor to prove
Unlike a new criminal charge, a violation of probation is usually easier for the prosecutor to prove in court. There is no formal jury trial for a violation of probation (VOP). There is simply a hearing in front of the judge. The prosecutor (also known as an assistant state attorney) still has to prove the case, but not beyond all reasonable doubts—a very high standard. The prosecutor simply needs to convince the judge that the probation has been violated by a preponderance of the evidence. This is a much lower standard and much easier for a prosecutor to prove.
It is usually a very good idea to hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if you have an active warrant for vop for the following reasons:
Don't get stuck in Jail
If you are arrested on the warrant and unable to bond out because the bond is too high, a criminal defense attorney can plan on attending your first appearance (this is your first court date within 24 hours of your arrest for the purpose of setting bond). The attorney can bring several things to the attention of the first appearance judge, such as ties to the community and/or lack of criminal history, and argue for the judge to set a reasonable bond that you can afford, or release you without having to pay a bond.
The sooner an attorney can start working on your case, the better
Unlike new criminal charges, violations of probation usually move through the criminal justice system at a much faster pace. For felony technical violations, a judge will often set the case for an early case resolution date sometimes in only a few weeks. Therefore, it is very important that an attorney have ample time to investigate your case and plan an adequate defense.
What about felony VOP's?
In Sarasota and Bradenton, the Judge will usually set a $0 dollar bond (or no bond) on a felony VOP warrant. If there is a $0 bond on a warrant you will not be able to bond out. A judge must set a bond in order for you to be able to bond out of jail. Sometimes people think, 'I'm not going to bother hiring an attorney for my felony VOP because I'm going to be be stuck in jail anyway.' For a felony VOP, it is even more important to hire an attorney as the consequences are much more severe and there are often defenses available that the average person is unaware of.
Please call our office for a free consultation for your VOP case
We will be happy to sit down with you, in person or on the phone, and review your case and decide your best possible course-of-action.
The VOP lawyers at Soler & Simon have tremendous experience helping people who have violated their probation. Please visit our Violation of Probation page for information and strategies to help you defend, and maybe entirely beat, your VOP case.