Probation is something that places people into two camps. For those who have never been under its control, it is a vaguely understood form of prison release. For those who have been released under this program, or those who advocate on their behalf, probation is a near-constant source of anxiety.
Probation can allow someone to remain out of jail for their crimes, or can allow a person in jail to be released early. Individuals on probation are under the supervision of the courts and are required to follow certain rules in order to remain out of prison. These rules can include:
- Meeting with a probation officer at regular intervals
- Appearing in court
- Testing for alcohol or drugs
- Avoiding certain people or locations
- Being forbidden from owning or possessing a firearm
- Community service
- Rehabilitation treatment, therapy, or group meetings
In some states, prisoners have to pay for the privilege of being released under probation. In Florida, the minimum monthly cost of probation for a misdemeanor is $40 not including bureaucratic surcharges and fees.
All of these rules, fees, and requirements must be met at all times for the probationer to remain out of prison. If any of these rules are broken, that is a probation violation. Additionally, if the probationer is arrested for any reason, whether it was a crime or not, they may also be found to be in violation of their probation.
Once probation has been declared to be violated, probation officers have broad authority to decide how to proceed. Common consequences of violating probation can include:
- Extending the probation period
- Imposing additional rules or penalties to the probation
- Revoking the probation and requiring the probationer to go to prison for the remainder of their sentence
There is some hope for a probationer being accused of a violation. They may challenge the violation in front of a neutral judge. This course of action allows the probationer to appeal their case to the judge. Perhaps they missed their meeting with the probation officer because they were at work, perhaps they plead poverty for not being able to pay their probation fees.
In any probation violation challenge, it is recommended that probationers retain an attorney who can eloquently advocate on their behalf with more experienced knowledge of the system.
If you have been accused of violating your probation, contact a lawyer today to explore your legal rights and options.