VOP’S: Top 7 Reasons Why You Should Avoid a Violation of Probation and File a Motion For Early Termination of Probation
August 23, 2010
The majority of criminal cases are resolved with a disposition which places people on probation. Probation terms and conditions vary depending on the nature of the crime charged. Usually a person is place on probation for a term of months or years and they must complete certain conditions such as alcohol treatment, anger management, or making restitution. In Florida, most courts will allow for the Defendant to file a Motion for Early Termination of Probation once half of the probation is completed. If you are on probation, you should make every effort to get off of probation as soon as you can so as to avoid a Violation of Probation (VOP).
1. You are likely facing a Jail or Prison Sentence if You VOP
Depending on your judge, the facts of the case, and your criminal history; if you VOP, the judge may likely take the position that you are no longer a candidate for supervision and the only viable alternative is now to incarcerate you. Under Florida Law you are facing the possibility of being sentenced to the maximum penalties under the law.
2. Increased Sentencing Points on a Felony Case in Florida
In Florida, felony sentences are determined based on the Criminal Punishment Code. You may have scored a “non-state prison” sentence on your initial open case; however, when you VOP, your sentencing points will increase. You may have been initially eligible for a probation or county jail sentence; however, you may now be facing a mandatory prison sentence under the Criminal Punishment Code.
3. You May Now Be Facing a Criminal Conviction if You VOP
One of the most important considerations my clients have when resolving their cases is that they are not actually convicted. While there are exceptions, usually when you are sentenced to a “Withhold of Adjudication” there is not a formal finding of guilt. Consequently, you may be able to seal your case; not lose your drivers license, or be able to write down on a job application that you have not been “convicted” of a crime. However, Florida Statute Section 948.06(2) (b) requires the court to “adjudge the probationer or offender guilty of the offense charged . . .” In other words, you are now convicted and you will lose the status of the “Withhold of Adjudication.”
4. You are Not Entitled to a Bond while Your VOP is Pending
Most people are shocked when a VOP is filed and they find out that the law does not require them to have a bond while their VOP is pending. As a result, you may have to sit in jail for an extended period of time (sometimes weeks or months) while your case is pending. If you had a job at the time of the VOP; it has highly likely that you will lose it while you are waiting in jail.
5. Exposure to Searches and Seizures While on Probation
While on probation your ability to assert your rights to searches and seizures are greatly impacted. You may be subjected to testing for drugs or alcohol. You are likely subjected to unannounced visits and searches from your probation officer. This greatly enhances the possibility of a VOP.
6. Costs of Being on Probation
Just being supervised by the court system costs you money. Depending on your jurisdiction and type of probation, it is very likely that you are paying a minimum of $40 per month.
7. Inconvenience and Stigma of Being on Probation
The mere fact that you have to report to a probation officer or possibly have to go to court monthly in the case of a Drug Court Case can put a strain on your job and household. Missing work to report to your probation officer can lead to your being fired. It may also be difficult to coordinate with your spouse if child care needs must be met. Also, having to notify prospective employers or friends or acquaintances that you are on probation can be difficult or awkward.
Contact CLEARWATER PROBATION VIOLATION LAWYER Joseph Montrone, Jr. for a free initial consultation.