Jump to Navigation

Violation of Probation (VOP)

One of the hardest charges to deal with is a Florida violation of probation (VOP) or Florida violation of community control. When an individual pleads to a charge and is placed on a period of probation or community control, the judge orders that individual to comply with a multitude of conditions. If one of these conditions is not met, then the individual is violated and can face up to the maximum amount of time for which they are on probation. For instance, if an individual is on probation for a third degree felony and fails to comply with one of the conditions set by the court, a subsequent violation charge can subject that person to up to five years in Florida State Prison.

VOP charges are difficult to deal with for a number of reasons. First, the conditions set by the court are usually numerous and difficult to comply with. Often times the court will set unreasonable time limits to complete certain conditions (like community service), making the likelihood of completion minimal. Second, anything can be used to violate the probation or community control. Failing to meet even one of the conditions, or getting arrested for another charge will be used as a basis to violate. Third, violations are treated differently than a new charge.

For starters, the court does not need to find you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Rather, the standard at a VOP hearing is conduct which shocks the conscious of the court. Because of the change in standard, an individual can have a complete defense to the new charge/arrest, and those charges may even be dismissed, but the VOP may still be prosecuted. VOP charges are additionally difficult because the Judge is the trier of fact in such cases, and there is no jury. The defense of such charges requires a high degree of legal skill and knowledge. Often, defending such charges requires a defense to the new arrest, as well as the VOP. Our Jacksonville criminal defense attorneys know how to attack these charges, and how to make sure that the court follows the law and procedure.

Below are portions of Florida's violation of probation statute. If you need a criminal defense lawyer in Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Green Cove Springs, or anywhere in Florida or Georgia, contact Arnold Law Firm to work for you.

FLORIDA'S PROBATION LAWS

948.01 When court may place defendant on probation or into community control.

(1) Any state court having original jurisdiction of criminal actions may at a time to be determined by the court, with or without an adjudication of the guilt of the defendant, hear and determine the question of the probation of a defendant in a criminal case, except for an offense punishable by death, who has been found guilty by the verdict of a jury, has entered a plea of guilty or a plea of nolo contendere, or has been found guilty by the court trying the case without a jury.

(a) If the court places the defendant on probation or into community control for a felony, the department shall provide immediate supervision by an officer employed in compliance with the minimum qualifications for officers as provided in s. 943.13. A private entity may not provide probationary or supervision services to felony or misdemeanor offenders sentenced or placed on probation or other supervision by the circuit court.

(b) The department, in consultation with the Office of the State Courts Administrator, shall develop and disseminate to the courts uniform order of supervision forms by July 1 of each year or as necessary. The courts shall use the uniform order of supervision forms provided by the department for all persons placed on community supervision.

(2) If it appears to the court upon a hearing of the matter that the defendant is not likely again to engage in a criminal course of conduct and that the ends of justice and the welfare of society do not require that the defendant presently suffer the penalty imposed by law, the court, in its discretion, may either adjudge the defendant to be guilty or stay and withhold the adjudication of guilt. In either case, the court shall stay and withhold the imposition of sentence upon the defendant and shall place a felony defendant upon probation. If the defendant is found guilty of a nonfelony offense as the result of a trial or entry of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, regardless of whether adjudication is withheld, the court may place the defendant on probation. In addition to court costs and fees and notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the court may impose a fine authorized by law if the offender is a nonfelony offender who is not placed on probation. However, a defendant who is placed on probation for a misdemeanor may not be placed under the supervision of the department unless the circuit court was the court of original jurisdiction.

(3) If, after considering the provisions of subsection (2) and the offender's prior record or the seriousness of the offense, it appears to the court in the case of a felony disposition that probation is an unsuitable dispositional alternative to imprisonment, the court may place the offender in a community control program as provided in s. 948.10. Or, in a case of prior disposition of a felony commitment, upon motion of the offender or the department or upon its own motion, the court may, within the period of its retained jurisdiction following commitment, suspend the further execution of the disposition and place the offender in a community control program upon such terms as the court may require. The court may consult with a local offender advisory council pursuant to s. 948.90 with respect to the placement of an offender into community control. Not later than 3 working days before the hearing on the motion, the department shall forward to the court all relevant material on the offender's progress while in custody. If this sentencing alternative to incarceration is utilized, the court shall:

(a) Determine what community-based sanctions will be imposed in the community control plan. Community-based sanctions may include, but are not limited to, rehabilitative restitution in money or in kind, curfew, revocation or suspension of the driver's license, community service, deprivation of nonessential activities or privileges, or other appropriate restraints on the offender's liberty.

(b) After appropriate sanctions for the offense are determined, develop, approve, and order a plan of community control which contains rules, requirements, conditions, and programs that are designed to encourage noncriminal functional behavior and promote the rehabilitation of the offender and the protection of the community. If the offense was a controlled substance violation, the conditions shall include a requirement that the offender submit to random substance abuse testing intermittently throughout the term of supervision, upon the direction of the correctional probation officer as defined in s. 943.10(3).

(4) The sanctions imposed by order of the court shall be commensurate with the seriousness of the offense. When community control or a program of public service is ordered by the court, the duration of community control supervision or public service may not be longer than the sentence that could have been imposed if the offender had been committed for the offense or a period not to exceed 2 years, whichever is less. When restitution or public service is ordered by the court, the amount of restitution or public service may not be greater than an amount which the offender could reasonably be expected to pay or perform.

(5) The imposition of sentence may not be suspended and the defendant thereupon placed on probation or into community control unless the defendant is placed under the custody of the department or another public or private entity. A private entity may not provide probationary or supervision services to felony or misdemeanor offenders sentenced or placed on probation or other supervision by the circuit court.

(6) When the court, under any of the foregoing subsections, places a defendant on probation or into community control, it may specify that the defendant serve all or part of the probationary or community control period in a community residential or nonresidential facility under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections or the Department of Children and Family Services or any public or private entity providing such services, and it shall require the payment prescribed in s. 948.09.

(7)(a) Notwithstanding s. 921.0024 and effective for offenses committed on or after July 1, 2009, the sentencing court may place the defendant into a postadjudicatory treatment-based drug court program if the defendant's Criminal Punishment Code scoresheet total sentence points under s. 921.0024 are 52 points or fewer and the defendant is a nonviolent felony offender, amenable to substance abuse treatment, and otherwise qualifies under s. 397.334(3). The satisfactory completion of the program shall be a condition of the defendant's probation or community control. As used in this subsection, the term "nonviolent felony" means a third degree felony violation under chapter 810 or any other felony offense that is not a forcible felony as defined in s. 776.08.

(b) The defendant must be fully advised of the purpose of the program, and the defendant must agree to enter the program. The original sentencing court shall relinquish jurisdiction of the defendant's case to the postadjudicatory drug court program until the defendant is no longer active in the program, the case is returned to the sentencing court due to the defendant's termination from the program for failure to comply with the terms thereof, or the defendant's sentence is completed.

History.--s. 20, ch. 20519, 1941; s. 7, ch. 22858, 1945; s. 1, ch. 59-130; s. 1, ch. 61-498; s. 1, ch. 65-453; s. 1, ch. 67-204; ss. 12, 13, ch. 74-112; s. 3, ch. 75-301; s. 3, ch. 76-238; s. 90, ch. 77-120; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 109, ch. 79-3; s. 13, ch. 83-131; s. 14, ch. 85-288; s. 1, ch. 86-106; s. 4, ch. 87-211; s. 69, ch. 88-122; s. 36, ch. 89-526; ss. 7, 16, ch. 90-337; ss. 2, 14, ch. 91-225; ss. 1, 15, ch. 91-280; s. 14, ch. 93-227; s. 17, ch. 96-322; s. 21, ch. 97-78; s. 1876, ch. 97-102; s. 6, ch. 97-239; s. 13, ch. 98-81; s. 121, ch. 99-3; s. 323, ch. 99-8; s. 3, ch. 2000-246; s. 4, ch. 2001-55; ss. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 40, ch. 2004-373; s. 5, ch. 2008-250; s. 6, ch. 2009-6; s. 10, ch. 2009-63; s. 3, ch. 2009-64.

948.011 When court may impose fine and place on probation or into community control as an alternative to imprisonment.--When the law authorizes the placing of a defendant on probation, and when the defendant's offense is punishable by both fine and imprisonment, the trial court may, in its discretion, impose a fine upon him or her and place him or her on probation or into community control as an alternative to imprisonment.

History.--s. 1, ch. 59-175; s. 14, ch. 83-131; s. 1683, ch. 97-102; s. 13, ch. 2004-373.

948.012 Split sentence of probation or community control and imprisonment.--

(1) Whenever punishment by imprisonment for a misdemeanor or a felony, except for a capital felony, is prescribed, the court, in its discretion, may, at the time of sentencing, impose a split sentence whereby the defendant is to be placed on probation or, with respect to any such felony, into community control upon completion of any specified period of such sentence which may include a term of years or less. In such case, the court shall stay and withhold the imposition of the remainder of sentence imposed upon the defendant and direct that the defendant be placed upon probation or into community control after serving such period as may be imposed by the court. The period of probation or community control shall commence immediately upon the release of the defendant from incarceration, whether by parole or gain-time allowances.

(2) The court may also impose a split sentence whereby the defendant is sentenced to a term of probation which may be followed by a period of incarceration or, with respect to a felony, into community control, as follows:

(a) If the offender meets the terms and conditions of probation or community control, any term of incarceration may be modified by court order to eliminate the term of incarceration.

(b) If the offender does not meet the terms and conditions of probation or community control, the court may revoke, modify, or continue the probation or community control as provided in s. 948.06. If the probation or community control is revoked, the court may impose any sentence that it could have imposed at the time the offender was placed on probation or community control. The court may not provide credit for time served for any portion of a probation or community control term toward a subsequent term of probation or community control. However, the court may not impose a subsequent term of probation or community control which, when combined with any amount of time served on preceding terms of probation or community control for offenses pending before the court for sentencing, would exceed the maximum penalty allowable as provided in s. 775.082. Such term of incarceration shall be served under applicable law or county ordinance governing service of sentences in state or county jurisdiction. This paragraph does not prohibit any other sanction provided by law.

(3) The court may also impose split probation whereby, upon satisfactory completion of half the term of probation, the Department of Corrections may place the offender on administrative probation for the remainder of the term of supervision.

(4) Effective for offenses committed on or after September 1, 2005, the court must impose a split sentence pursuant to subsection (1) for any person who is convicted of a life felony for lewd and lascivious molestation pursuant to s. 800.04(5)(b) if the court imposes a term of years in accordance with s. 775.082(3)(a)4.a.(II) rather than life imprisonment. The probation or community control portion of the split sentence imposed by the court for a defendant must extend for the duration of the defendant's natural life and include a condition that he or she be electronically monitored.

History.--s. 1, ch. 67-204; s. 12, ch. 74-112; s. 13, ch. 83-131; s. 14, ch. 85-288; s. 14, ch. 91-225; s. 1, ch. 91-280; s. 21, ch. 97-78; s. 121, ch. 99-3; ss. 4, 8, 9, ch. 2004-373; s. 14, ch. 2005-28; s. 115, ch. 2006-1; s. 6, ch. 2007-2; s. 2, ch. 2008-182.

Note.--Former s. 948.01(6), (11), (12).

948.014 Requirement to submit to drawing of blood or other biological specimens.--

(1) As a condition of probation, community control, or any other court-ordered community supervision, the court shall order offenders to submit to the drawing of the blood or other biological specimens when required under s. 943.325 as a condition of the probation, community control, or other court-ordered community supervision.

(2) For the purposes of this section, conviction shall include a finding of guilty, or entry of a plea of nolo contendere or guilty, regardless of adjudication, or, in the case of a juvenile, the finding of delinquency.

(3) Any order issued pursuant to this section shall also require the convicted person to reimburse the appropriate agency for the costs of drawing and transmitting the blood or other biological specimens to the Department of Law Enforcement.

History.--s. 53, ch. 95-283; s. 15, ch. 98-251; s. 122, ch. 99-3; ss. 23, 24, ch. 2004-373; s. 4, ch. 2009-190.

Note.--Former s. 948.03(10), (11).

948.035 Residential treatment as a condition of probation or community control.--

(1) If the court imposes a period of residential treatment or incarceration as a condition of probation or community control, the residential treatment or incarceration shall be restricted to the following facilities:

(a) A Department of Corrections probation and restitution center;

(b) A probation program drug punishment treatment community;

(c) A community residential facility which is owned and operated by any public or private entity, excluding a community correctional center as defined in s. 944.026; or

(d) A county-owned facility.

(2) It is the intent of the Legislature that a county jail be used as the last available alternative for placement of an offender as a condition of probation. However, this shall not create a right of placement for the probationer, nor shall it restrict judicial discretion in ordering such treatment or incarceration.

(3) Prior to admission to such a facility or treatment community, the court shall obtain an individual assessment and recommendation on the appropriate treatment needs pursuant to the Community Control Implementation Manual which shall be considered by the court in ordering such placements. Placement in such a facility or center, or in the phase I secure residential phase of a probation program drug punishment treatment community, shall not exceed 364 days. Early completion of an offender's placement shall be recommended to the court, when appropriate, by the facility or center supervisor, by the supervising probation officer, or by the program manager. The Department of Corrections is authorized to contract with appropriate agencies for provision of services.

History.--s. 15, ch. 85-288; s. 37, ch. 89-526; s. 10, ch. 90-287; s. 11, ch. 91-225; s. 4, ch. 91-280; s. 20, ch. 2004-373.

Note.--Former s. 948.03(7).

948.06 Violation of probation or community control; revocation; modification; continuance; failure to pay restitution or cost of supervision.--

(1)(a) Whenever within the period of probation or community control there are reasonable grounds to believe that a probationer or offender in community control has violated his or her probation or community control in a material respect, any law enforcement officer who is aware of the probationary or community control status of the probationer or offender in community control or any parole or probation supervisor may arrest or request any county or municipal law enforcement officer to arrest such probationer or offender without warrant wherever found and forthwith return him or her to the court granting such probation or community control.

(b) Any committing trial court judge may issue a warrant, upon the facts being made known to him or her by affidavit of one having knowledge of such facts, for the arrest of the probationer or offender, returnable forthwith before the court granting such probation or community control.

(c) Any parole or probation supervisor, any officer authorized to serve criminal process, or any peace officer of this state is authorized to serve and execute such warrant.

(d) Upon the filing of an affidavit alleging a violation of probation or community control and following issuance of a warrant under s. 901.02, the probationary period is tolled until the court enters a ruling on the violation. Notwithstanding the tolling of probation as provided in this subsection, the court shall retain jurisdiction over the offender for any violation of the conditions of probation or community control that is alleged to have occurred during the tolling period. The probation officer is permitted to continue to supervise any offender who remains available to the officer for supervision until the supervision expires pursuant to the order of probation or community control or until the court revokes or terminates the probation or community control, whichever comes first.

(2)(a) The court, upon the probationer or offender being brought before it, shall advise him or her of such charge of violation and, if such charge is admitted to be true, may forthwith revoke, modify, or continue the probation or community control or place the probationer into a community control program.

(b) If probation or community control is revoked, the court shall adjudge the probationer or offender guilty of the offense charged and proven or admitted, unless he or she has previously been adjudged guilty, and impose any sentence which it might have originally imposed before placing the probationer on probation or the offender into community control.

(c) If such violation of probation or community control is not admitted by the probationer or offender, the court may commit him or her or release him or her with or without bail to await further hearing, or it may dismiss the charge of probation or community control violation.

(d) If such charge is not at that time admitted by the probationer or offender and if it is not dismissed, the court, as soon as may be practicable, shall give the probationer or offender an opportunity to be fully heard on his or her behalf in person or by counsel.

(e) After such hearing, the court may revoke, modify, or continue the probation or community control or place the probationer into community control. If such probation or community control is revoked, the court shall adjudge the probationer or offender guilty of the offense charged and proven or admitted, unless he or she has previously been adjudged guilty, and impose any sentence which it might have originally imposed before placing the probationer or offender on probation or into community control.

(f) Notwithstanding s. 775.082, when a period of probation or community control has been tolled, upon revocation or modification of the probation or community control, the court may impose a sanction with a term that when combined with the amount of supervision served and tolled, exceeds the term permissible pursuant to s. 775.082 for a term up to the amount of the tolled period of supervision.

(g) If the court dismisses an affidavit alleging a violation of probation or community control, the offender's probation or community control shall continue as previously imposed, and the offender shall receive credit for all tolled time against his or her term of probation or community control.

(3) When the court imposes a subsequent term of supervision following a revocation of probation or community control, it shall not provide credit for time served while on probation or community control toward any subsequent term of probation or community control. However, the court may not impose a subsequent term of probation or community control which, when combined with any amount of time served on preceding terms of probation or community control for offenses before the court for sentencing, would exceed the maximum penalty allowable as provided by s. 775.082. No part of the time that the defendant is on probation or in community control shall be considered as any part of the time that he or she shall be sentenced to serve.

(4) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, a probationer or an offender in community control who is arrested for violating his or her probation or community control in a material respect may be taken before the court in the county or circuit in which the probationer or offender was arrested. That court shall advise him or her of such charge of a violation and, if such charge is admitted, shall cause him or her to be brought before the court which granted the probation or community control. If such violation is not admitted by the probationer or offender, the court may commit him or her or release him or her with or without bail to await further hearing. The court, as soon as is practicable, shall give the probationer or offender an opportunity to be fully heard on his or her behalf in person or by counsel. After such hearing, the court shall make findings of fact and forward the findings to the court which granted the probation or community control and to the probationer or offender or his or her attorney. The findings of fact by the hearing court are binding on the court which granted the probation or community control. Upon the probationer or offender being brought before it, the court which granted the probation or community control may revoke, modify, or continue the probation or community control or may place the probationer into community control as provided in this section.

(5) In any hearing in which the failure of a probationer or offender in community control to pay restitution or the cost of supervision as provided in s. 948.09, as directed, is established by the state, if the probationer or offender asserts his or her inability to pay restitution or the cost of supervision, it is incumbent upon the probationer or offender to prove by clear and convincing evidence that he or she does not have the present resources available to pay restitution or the cost of supervision despite sufficient bona fide efforts legally to acquire the resources to do so. If the probationer or offender cannot pay restitution or the cost of supervision despite sufficient bona fide efforts, the court shall consider alternate measures of punishment other than imprisonment. Only if alternate measures are not adequate to meet the state's interests in punishment and deterrence may the court imprison a probationer or offender in community control who has demonstrated sufficient bona fide efforts to pay restitution or the cost of supervision.

(6) Any parolee in a community control program who has allegedly violated the terms and conditions of such placement is subject to the provisions of ss. 947.22 and 947.23.

(7) Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, whenever probation, community control, or control release, including the probationary, community control portion of a split sentence, is violated and the probation or community control is revoked, the offender, by reason of his or her misconduct, shall be deemed to have forfeited all gain-time or commutation of time for good conduct, as provided by law, earned up to the date of his or her release on probation, community control, or control release. This subsection does not deprive the prisoner of his or her right to gain-time or commutation of time for good conduct, as provided by law, from the date on which the prisoner is returned to prison. However, if a prisoner is sentenced to incarceration following termination from a drug punishment program imposed as a condition of probation, the sentence may include incarceration without the possibility of gain-time or early release for the period of time remaining in his or her treatment program placement term.

History.--s. 26, ch. 20519, 1941; s. 2, ch. 59-130; s. 2, ch. 61-498; s. 1, ch. 69-71; s. 20, ch. 83-131; ss. 2, 3, ch. 84-337; ss. 8, 9, 38, 48, ch. 89-526; s. 13, ch. 89-531; s. 11, ch. 90-287; s. 2, ch. 91-225; s. 8, ch. 91-280; s. 23, ch. 97-78; s. 1687, ch. 97-102; s. 5, ch. 97-239; s. 13, ch. 97-299; s. 3, ch. 2000-246; s. 1, ch. 2001-109; s. 50, ch. 2004-11; ss. 27, 28, 41, ch. 2004-373.

948.20 Drug offender probation

If it appears to the court upon a hearing that the defendant is a chronic substance abuser whose criminal conduct is a violation of s. 893.13(2)(a) or (6)(a), or other nonviolent felony if such nonviolent felony is committed on or after July 1, 2009, and notwithstanding s. 921.0024 the defendant's Criminal Punishment Code scoresheet total sentence points are 52 points or fewer, the court may either adjudge the defendant guilty or stay and withhold the adjudication of guilt. In either case, the court may also stay and withhold the imposition of sentence and place the defendant on drug offender probation or into a postadjudicatory treatment-based drug court program if the defendant otherwise qualifies. As used in this section, the term "nonviolent felony" means a third degree felony violation under chapter 810 or any other felony offense that is not a forcible felony as defined in s. 776.08.

(1) The Department of Corrections shall develop and administer a drug offender probation program which emphasizes a combination of treatment and intensive community supervision approaches and which includes provision for supervision of offenders in accordance with a specific treatment plan. The program may include the use of graduated sanctions consistent with the conditions imposed by the court. Drug offender probation status shall include surveillance and random drug testing, and may include those measures normally associated with community control, except that specific treatment conditions and other treatment approaches necessary to monitor this population may be ordered.

(2) Offenders placed on drug offender probation are subject to revocation of probation as provided in s. 948.06.

History.--s. 14, ch. 91-225; s. 6, ch. 97-239; s. 4, ch. 2001-55; s. 10, ch. 2004-373; s. 7, ch. 2009-64.

Note.--Former s. 948.01(13).

Updated September 1, 2009 from http://www.flsenate.gov/

Contact Us Today

Fill out the form to contact Arnold Law Firm. Do not let the stress of legal problems overtake your life. Contact us for the help you need from an experienced criminal law and family law attorney.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

  • Shawn A Arnold Online At Super Lawyers
  • Flor The Florida Bar Board Certified

Arnold Law Firm

Florida address:

6279 Dupont Station Court
Jacksonville, FL 32217

Phone: 904-731-3800
Fax: 904-731-3807

E-mail Us | Map & Directions

Georgia address:

1801 Glouchester Street,
Suite C,
Brunswick, GA 31520

Phone: 912-638-1121