In the state of Florida, probation, or community control, is an alternative form of punishment for a variety of criminal charges. Unfortunately, a lot of people violate the terms of their probation. This is done either intentionally or materially.

Regardless, this can lead to serious penalties making it important a Clearwater probation violation attorney is contacted as soon as possible. To begin discussing your case and what steps can be taken to help, consult with an experienced defense attorney in Clearwater today.

Once a Violation Has Occurred

Once the probation violation has occurred, the probation officer will fill out an affidavit asking the judge to issue a warrant for the person’s arrest. Once an individual, they can be kept in a county jail pending a violation hearing or a bond hearing. While awaiting trial, a judge does not have to allow you out on bond. That is one of the major differences between probation hearings and normal criminal proceedings.

Other differences between probation violation hearings and ordinary criminal proceedings include the lack of a right to a trial and the degree of evidence required. In a probation violation hearing, there will not be an option for a trial by jury. The judge will be the only person to hear an individual’s case.

In criminal proceedings, the evidence must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual committed the crime; however, in a probation violation hearing, the prosecutor must only prove a preponderance of evidence. This is the lowest amount of evidence required out of any type of trial or hearing. Also, an individual in a probation violation hearing can be forced to testify. The same is not true during ordinary criminal proceedings.

Severity of Violations

It is important to note that probation violations are serious. They are serious because they make the individual eligible for the punishment for the original crime. This means that an individual that was charged with a 3rd degree felony originally but receives probation the first time around can receive up to 5 years in prison if he or she violates the criteria of probation. Also, when someone is charged with violating their probation, the only issue is whether or not the person violated a general or special condition imposed by the judge at sentencing.

If you or someone you know is on probation and facing a probation violation charge, contact the Clearwater probation violation attorneys of the Law Offices of Tragos, Sartes & Tragos, PLLC.

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