Initially, an arrest that results in formal charges by the State attorney, must be proved “beyond a reasonable doubt” in order to obtain a conviction. Often, convictions result in a sentence of probation which requires a person to be supervised for a specific period of time and meet additional conditions that can include but are not limited to community service, monthly check-ins, fees, and drug tests. Unfortunately, when a defendant does not comply with their probation terms, a violation of probation also known as VOP is entered against the defendant. When a violation of probation has occurred, the State must meet a lower burden of proof for conviction known as “by a preponderance of the evidence.”
Florida Statute 948.06 provides the laws concerning violations of probation. If you are alleged to have violated a condition of probation, the following generally occurs:
First, your probation officer will submit an affidavit of violation to the court. The affidavit is a sworn statement detailing the willful and substantial ways in which a condition of probation has been violated. A violation can occur in a “material respect” or as a “technical violation.” A material respect violation occurs when a person has been arrested for a new felony, misdemeanor, or criminal traffic offense. Technical violations can include failed drug or alcohol tests, missed appointments with your probation officer, failure to pay fees, and failure to report address or employment changes. After the affidavit of violation is filed, the court will then review it, determine whether reasonable grounds exists, and issue a warrant for arrest or issue a notice to appear in court with a specified date. At times, a defendant can be placed on a “no bond” status, which will result in the defendant remaining in jail until bond can be requested. The defendant will afterward be arraigned and scheduled for Pre-Trial hearings. Here, the State will be required to prove a willful and substantial violation.