You may face various penalties if you are convicted of a crime, including fines and incarceration. On the other hand, a probation sentence can be imposed instead of, or in addition to, fines and imprisonment or prison time in certain circumstances. The court order to serve probation is effectively an agreement to allow you to help your sentence while remaining in the community, but only while adhering to strict regulations that you must follow. A probation breach can occur if you break one of the conditions of your probation.
In most cases, when a court provides probation, it allows persons convicted of a crime to stay relatively free, or at the very least, far more accessible than they would have been if the court had ordered them to do time in jail or prison instead. Unlike other types of punishment, probation sentences are not given voluntarily.
A person sentenced to probation is required to complete the whole probationary period and to adhere to any restrictions or conditions that have been imposed. When there is a reasonable suspicion that someone on probation has violated their probation or community control materially, this is a probation breach. Depending on the severity of your offense, the authorities may be able to issue an arrest warrant for you if there is sufficient evidence to support it.
In Florida, there are two sorts of probation violations that might occur. There are two types of infractions: technical violations and substantive violations.
Violations of the Technical Norms
These occur when a person on probation fails to comply with a specific and stated provision of the agreement they made with probation.
Someone who fails a drug test is an example of this behavior. People on probation may be required to regularly submit to random drug testing in some instances. It is possible that they will be accused of violating if they fail a test, and they will face the repercussions.
Failure to complete a court-ordered program, failing to notify an officer that you were changing your address or temporarily leaving the state, and failing to check in with your probation officer are all breaches of this rule.
Violations of the Law in Their Substance
Substantive violations differ from technical infractions in that they are more serious. This is because they are not anything that is explicitly defined in the probation agreement.
Specifically, you would breach the terms of your probation if you committed a crime other than the one for which you were already charged.
The authorities may detain you, charge you with a new crime, and break your probation if this occurs. You will face charges for both the new offense and the probation violation if this happens.
According to the definition of qualifying offenses, you committed a felony on or after your probation began that puts you in breach of your probation and puts you in danger of receiving real jail time.
Typically, these accusations are reserved for severe or extremely unsettling offenses because they are pretty strict. Examples are kidnapping, attempted murder, sexual battery, robbery, possession of child pornography, and other crimes.
Because these offenses are so heinous, you lose all chance of feeling sorrow, and you forfeit your ability to remain out of prison.
Violation with a Low Probability of Recurrence
When it comes to violations, the court of law will assess your level of risk to establish the appropriate sanction. In the case of low-risk infractions, it is highly improbable that you will be sentenced to actual jail time, provided that you are not judged a flight risk.
These types of infractions are common in agreements. They include failing a drug test, failing to report to the probation office, violating curfew, failing to disclose a change of address, etc.
As a result, what are the repercussions of this type of infraction? In this case, it is determined by how many times you have breached probation at this level in the past.
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If this is your first or second time breaking the terms, the consequences are less severe. You could be sentenced to five days in county jail, lose your driving privileges, complete 50 more community service hours, or be placed under house arrest for 30 days, among other penalties.
Moderately Dangerous Violation
These are violators who were already under community control, who were not remaining in their residence as instructed by the officer, or who were committing a third violation while considered a low-risk individuals.
In this circumstance, the severity of the sanctions increases, with the maximum county jail sentence increasing to 21 days. Other additions include the possibility of an increase in house arrest time to up to 90 days, an increase in electronic monitoring time to up to 90 days, and the case of an increase in residential treatment for the same.
Possibilities for Legal Repercussions
Three primary outcomes can occur when someone breaches their probation due to their actions.
The first is that if the infraction is modest enough, your probation may be reinstated without any further action. The fact that the court decided to give you a break would nearly make it appear as if nothing had happened.
It is also possible that your probation will be changed if you violate a second time. This might be accomplished by including one of the punishments described above, such as being placed under house arrest for 90 days instead of no home arrest, to the existing penalties.
Other possibilities include courts ordering you to submit to more frequent drug testing, extending your time, requiring you to do more community service hours, and placing more limitations on where you can travel.
The third option would be the most severe for an offender since they would lose their probation and be sentenced to prison immediately. This is more likely to occur in the case of serious crimes that qualify as qualifying offenses as described above or in the case of someone who has breached multiple times in the past.
In this circumstance, consulting with legal counsel before going to trial and accepting these legal outcomes would be the best course of action. For the more severe violations, at the very least, there is the prospect of receiving a reduced punishment or of remaining out of jail.
What is the maximum number of times you can violate probation?
The answer to how many times you can violate depends on the severity of your violation, which is explained further below. If you violated the terms by committing a qualifying offense, you would be sentenced to prison after only one crime.
For low-risk violations, on the other hand, you can violate the terms of your probation up to three times before you are subject to real prison time. When it comes to intermediate-risk violators, you only get one pass before you have to deal with the danger of being arrested. A breach of the rules cannot be done on accident, and minor infractions are usually not enough to warrant revocation. Additionally, you will not violate if you intend to commit a violation but do not carry it out.
It is not enough to say anything; you must do something that contradicts one or more requirements. Example: If you lose your job or miss a community service date because your car breaks down, you will most likely not be able to get reinstated in most cases. Instead of attending your community service appointment, you may go to a bar and become drunk, which is usually enough to revoke your probationary or parole status.