Probation is a form of alternative punishment that allows individuals convicted of an offense to fulfill the terms of a sentence while outside prison or jail. The oversight of a probation office or officer is supposed to serve the function of public safety, while allowing the offender the opportunity to work and contribute to society – in the hopes of rehabilitation and possibly victim restoration. The conditions of probation vary depending on the underlying offense, criminal history of the individual, and the judge who handed down the sentence. However, most terms of probation require the defendant to abide by all local, state, and federal laws.
When a new offense is committed by someone on probation, that person not only faces potential consequences for the new offense, but additional penalties for a probation violation.
Florida’s probation violation statute is F.S. 948.06.
While a criminal conviction may require proof beyond a reasonable doubt, probation violations aren’t held to that same proof burden standard. The probation officer/prosecutor only needs to show you violated the terms of your probation by a proof standard of “a preponderance of the evidence.” In layman’s terms, that means you more likely than not violated the probation rules.
As our Broward domestic violence defense lawyers can explain, you might evade a criminal conviction for the new offense but still be found to have violated your probation. And in that situation, you might be given the maximum penalty for the original underlying offense (the one for which you were on probation in the first place).
This is why it is so important if you’re accused of a probation violation to seek immediate counsel from a criminal defense attorney. Continue reading