In some instances, a defendant convicted of a criminal offense will be sentenced to probation rather than imprisonment. Although people on probation have significantly more freedoms than those who are imprisoned, their liberties are not boundless. Specifically, they must comply with the restrictions imposed by their probation orders. If they violate the rules of probation, they may face additional penalties, but not all violations are significant enough for probation to be revoked. Recently, a Florida court addressed what constitutes a violation significant enough to lead to the revocation of probation. If you are accused of violating the terms of your probation, it is critical to meet with a seasoned Tampa criminal defense attorney to assess your possible defenses.
The Defendant’s Probation and Alleged Violation
It is reported that the defendant was convicted of several drug crimes. Following his conviction, he was sentenced to probation. One of the conditions of the defendant’s probation was that he had a curfew that dictated that he had to be home between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am. One evening, the defendant’s girlfriend came home from work, after which they traveled to the store. They left the house at 11:15 pm and were stopped by a police officer at 1:40 am. The defendant’s probation was then revoked due to the violation of his curfew. The defendant appealed. On appeal, the appellate court affirmed the revocation.
Material Probation Violations Under Florida Law
On appeal, the defendant argued that his violation was not substantial. The appellate court disagreed, noting that the defendant’s absence was extended and there was no emergency. The court also noted that under Florida law, an absence from home without permission is considered a willful and substantial violation of probation.
The defendant also argued that the trial court did not expressly find that he committed a willful and substantial revocation. The appellate court disagreed, stating that that the trial court found that the defendant’s violation was willful. Further, the appellate court noted that the trial court found that the defendant’s violation was material. Thus, the appellate court ruled that a trial court’s statement that a probation violation was material was the same as a statement that a violation was substantial.
The court explained that according to accepted dictionaries, material meant having true importance or a significant consequence, while substantial was similarly defined as important or true. As the definitions were largely similar, they were essentially interchangeable. Thus, the appellate court found that the trial court made the findings necessary to revoke the defendant’s probation and affirmed the trial court ruling.
Speak to a Skillful Criminal Defense Attorney in Tampa
Probation allows people convicted of crimes to lead relatively normal lives, but if they violate the terms of their probation, it may be revoked. If you are accused of a probation violation you should speak to a lawyer to discuss your options. William Hanlon of Hanlon Law is a skillful probation violation attorney who can assess the facts of your case and advise you of what defenses you may be able to set forth. Mr. Hanlon can be reached via the form online or by calling 813-228-7095 to set up a meeting.
Can I feel comfortable telling a criminal defense attorney everything I did when I come in for an initial consultation?
Yes you can. Everything you tell a criminal defense attorney made for the purpose of obtaining legal services or for the purpose of furthering the attorney’s representation falls within the attorney/client privilege. The attorney/client privilege exists even during an initial consultation where the client chooses not to retain the lawyer. The communications between a lawyer and his client are privileged to permit the lawyer to prepare for litigation and render effective legal advice. This is why it is so important for the client to realize that total disclosure is critical to effective legal representation. Full disclosure prevents your criminal defense attorney from guiding you in the wrong direction. You should also be aware that a lawyer’s obligation to maintain your confidences is even broader than the attorney-client privilege. Every lawyer must act in the best interest of his/her client. Only under a very narrow set of circumstances can that responsibility be abandoned.
Is there more than one way to get my case dismissed?
Yes. There are several ways your case can end up getting dismissed. First, of course, is the level of proof the prosecution may have against you. The prosecution may not have enough evidence to prove your guilt. When you sit down for a consultation with your lawyer he/she should be able to give a very good idea how powerful the prosecutor’s case might be. Second, there could be police misconduct involved in your case that could lead to a pretrial motion that could severely damage the prosecutor’s case or lead to a reduction of the charge. The police violate defendant’s rights every day. They might violate your right to privacy by conducting an unlawful search or seizure. The police could violate your right to remain silent or right to counsel by taking your statement without proper notice of your Fifth Amendment rights. It is important to understand that a violation of your Fifth Amendment rights will only lead to a dismissal of your case when proving the criminal charge against you hinges on the admission of that statement into evidence. Some criminal charges can be proven without the use of your statement to police. While these two methods can bring about a dismissal of your criminal charge there are other approaches to bring about the same result. In order to find out whether your case involves facts that could lead to a dismissal you should contact the office of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
How much does my past have to do with the type of offer the prosecutor will make in my case?
Your past has a lot to do with the type of offer a prosecutor will make in your case. Do you have a criminal record? Have you been a contributing member of society? Even if you do have a criminal past have you taken steps to change your life? Did you struggle with an addiction of some type during the commission of the offense? A very important aspect of criminal defense is giving perspective to your client’s behavior. It is important for the prosecutor to understand that my client is a person. I do that by spending the time necessary to understand my client’s past and any struggles they endured before they were arrested. It is critical to personalize your client.