SARASOTA VOP ATTORNEY
Helping those charged with violating probation throughout Sarasota and Manatee Counties
What is a Violation of Probation (VOP)?
A violation of probation means that you have allegedly violated one of the terms or conditions that the judge originally ordered as a condition of your probation. These terms of probation can be viewed on the original order that the judge signed when you were placed on probation (Order of Probation). Violations can be broken down into two categories—new law and technical violations.
STAGES OF A VOP
How a Violation of Probation moves through Court in Sarasota and Manatee
If you don't bond out of jail, you are brought before a judge usually within 24 hours. On a VOP, the judge will often keep the bond the same as what was set on the VOP Warrant, although it can be adjusted. In felony VOP's, the judge will usually keep the bond at $0.
Early Case Resolution is sometimes available for felony VOP's when there is only a technical violation. It is an opportunity to resolve the VOP sooner than usual and is usually scheduled about a week or two after the First Appearance.
The prosecutor will usually have an offer for the defendant. Will the defendant accept the offer, attempt to negotiate a better offer, or want a hearing?
For a VOP there is no Jury Trial, only a Hearing in front of a judge. The prosecutor need only prove one of the allegations listed on the VOP Affidavit and only by a "preponderance of the evidence," NOT "beyond all reasonable doubt."
Was the Probation Revoked and Terminated? Was it Modified? Was the defendant put back on a New Term of Probation? There are several possibilities.
What is a new law violation?
A new law violation is when a person commits a new crime while on probation. This, of course, is the most serious way to violate your probation and the judge and prosecutor rarely look kindly on a new law violation. This violation will often result in a much higher bond for both your violation of probation and the new crime which you have been accused of. Also, if you are on felony probation and you violate with a new felony, the points scored on a score sheet for the VOP are doubled.
What is a technical violation?
A technical violation is the most common way an individual violates probation. Unlike a new law violation, a technical violation can be a myriad of things. One common way is by not reporting to probation. Another is by not paying fines or fees. Technical violations are largely dependent on what the terms of your probation are. If you are ordered to do random urinalysis and fail to show for a testing or test positive ( also known as a "dirty urine"), then it is likely your probation will be violated. Likewise, if you fail to do rehabilitation, community service, pay restitution, or anything else you are ordered to do, then you are in danger of violating your probation.
What are the consequences of violating your probation?
Like a new criminal case, this will largely depend on the individual circumstances surrounding your VOP case. Major considerations are the underlying crime for which you were put on probation, your criminal history, and the reason you violated.
Violations of probation do tend to carry jail or even prison time. Jail or prison does not have to be the only consequence. If there is proof that you were trying your hardest to complete the terms of probation, then it is possible that the State and the judge will try to work with you to successfully complete your probation.
What if my VOP can’t be “beat”?
In some cases, the evidence that one violated probation can be strong and it may not be possible to completely beat the VOP. Do not give up if this is the case for you. In my experience there is often a tremendous lack of communication between the probation officer and the prosecutor.
This means that the prosecutor may not realize all that you actually accomplished while on probation, because the prosecutor is not aware of the good that you have done, only the bad things that led to the violation. Usually, when the whole story is brought to the prosecutor’s attention, the prosecutor will be more willing to work with you and reduce the sentence or punishment that they seek.
How Soler & Simon can help you?
VOP's can be quite complicated and have severe consequences. The attorneys at Soler & Simon have handled hundreds of violation of probation cases ranging from simple misdemeanors to severe felonies.
Depending on the reason for the violation of probation, it may be possible to convince the prosecutor and the judge to allow you to be placed back on probation. You can also demand a violation of probation hearing, where the prosecutor will have to prove to the judge that the violations are legitimate and actually occurred.
Last, but not least, sometimes it is possible to request continuances to allow you time to successfully complete the conditions of probation (even though you are in VOP status). Sometimes, when the conditions are complete, the judge will actually revoke and terminate (totally end) your probation at a VOP court date.