When you agreed to probation to resolve your criminal charge in Palm Beach County, you probably didn’t realize how difficult it would be to comply with all of the special terms and conditions.
You should complete the special conditions of probation quickly so that you can file a “motion for early terminate of probation.”
But if your probation officer alleges that you violated the terms of your probation sentence, then you will be required to see the judge and answer the allegation.
If you believe your probation officer will report a violation of probation, it’s important that you act fast. Your liberty could be on the line. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you.
Attorney for “Violations of Probation” in West Palm Beach, FL
At Meltzer & Bell, P.A., we represent people on probation or community control who are at risk of losing that option due to potentially being reported as being in violation. If you are determined to be in violation of your probation, you could wind up with a conviction on your record when you thought charges would be dismissed, and you could wind up in prison for the maximum sentence.
We are available 24 hours a day, seven days per week, and you can speak to a partner at the firm about your case.
We represent people in Palm Beach County, including West Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Boca Raton, Royal Palm Beach, Jupiter, Belle Glade, Palm Beach Gardens, Greenacres, Juno Beach and Wellington. We also represent clients in Broward and Miami-Dade County.
We also represent people sentenced to county probation services for a misdemeanor while being supervised by Professional Probation Services in Delray Beach or West Palm Beach, FL. Find out more about a violation of misdemeanor probation in Palm Beach County, FL.
A West Palm Beach probation violation lawyer can help you fight the potential consequences, but it’s important to act as quickly as possible if you believe your supervising officer will file an affidavit reporting a violation.
Call us today at (561) 557-8686.
South Florida Probation Information Center
- Probation and Community Control Under Florida Law
- Technical vs. Substantive Violations
- What Happens If Community Supervision is Alleged to be Violated in Palm Beach County
- Palm Beach County Probation Offices
- Finding the Best Palm Beach County Attorney to Represent You For a Probation Violation
Probation and Community Control Under Florida Law
Probation and community control are both ways of allowing people who have plead guilty or were convicted of crimes to live and work outside jail or prison under strict community supervision. In some cases, a person may plead guilty to a crime, serve probation and have the conviction dismissed after completing their terms.
Probation means that the person lives at their home and works at their job, but must meet certain terms. Under Florida Law, these are called “general” terms of probation and “special” terms of probation.
The general terms of probation are those that are set by the probation company and/or the Department of Corrections. The special conditions of probation are those imposed by the court pursuant to a negotiated plea or a plea to the court.
Florida Statutes Annotated § 948.03 lists some of the possible terms, although the court is allowed to develop other ones:
- Reporting regularly to a probation officer (hereinafter “PO”);
- Submitting to visits, sometimes random, by the PO;
- Submitting to random drug and alcohol tests;
- Staying in Palm Beach County (or home county) or Florida;
- Maintaining employment;
- Pay restitution and other court-imposed fees;
- Pay child support;
- Not carry a firearm;
- Do community service;
- Not associate with criminals; and
- Not commit any new crimes.
Find out more about attorneys for felony violation of probation cases in Palm Beach County, FL.
Community control means that a person is subjected to a higher level of supervision. In many community control cases, the person will live at home or a residential facility while on an ankle monitor. Under Florida law, there are different forms of community control including:
- Community Control Level I;
- Community Control Level II; and
- GPS monitoring.
If you were accused of violating community control in Palm Beach County, FL, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to find out more about how best to fight the accusations.
In some cases, the terms you will serve while on community control can be negotiated by an attorney in West Palm Beach, FL, at Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. In some cases, serving community control is better than facing a hefty jail and/or prison sentence.
Section 948.01, F.S., provides the circumstances under which the trial court may place a person on probation or community control. Under s. 948.01(1), F.S., any person who is found guilty by a jury or the court sitting without a jury or who enters a plea of guilty or “nolo contendre” may be placed on probation regardless of whether adjudication is withheld.
The Department of Corrections (“Department”) supervises all probationers sentenced in circuit court regardless of whether the sentence is imposed for any felony or misdemeanor offense. In other words, even if your charges were reduced to a misdemeanor, if you enter the plea in Circuit Court then the DOC will supervise the probation instead of with misdemeanor probation services.
Section 948.03, F.S., provides a list of standard conditions of probation. In addition to the standard conditions of probation, the court may add additional conditions of probation that it deems proper as allowed under Florida Statute Section 948.03(2).
Technical vs. Substantive Violations of Probation
Probation differentiates between “substantive ” violations and “technical” violations. Read an article about violation of probation for technical violations.
A “substantive violation” means that the person committed another criminal act. A technical violation means the person did something outside the procedure for community supervision. For instance, if you have a fine due by a certain date and forget to pay it.
It may seem like a substantive violation is far worse than a technical one, but both can have very serious consequences. Both may result in your community supervision being revoked, which means you would go to jail, possibly for the maximum length of time for the underlying offense.
If you are on probation awaiting a charge to be dismissed, that charge could be entered as a conviction. You could also face dramatically heightened restrictions, additional community service or drug and alcohol treatment.
What Happens If Community Supervision is Alleged to be Violated in Palm Beach County
If your probation believes you have violated your probation, he or she will submit an affidavit to the court supervising your case. The court will then usually issue a no bond warrant for you to be arrested wherever law enforcement officers find you.
If that happens, you are entitled to a hearing where the violation of probation will be considered. There is no jury; only the judge. Your defense lawyer can represent you at that hearing and argue why your community supervision should not be revoked.
The burden of proof is also on the State of Florida to prove, this time by a preponderance of the evidence (or the greater weight of the evidence) that you have willfully and substantially violated the terms of your community supervision.
It’s important to act quickly. A lawyer can start working on your case if you even think your probation officer will submit an affidavit. In many cases, the sooner you act, the better you avoid penalties. A criminal defense attorney in West Palm Beach at the Meltzer & Bell, P.A. can help you at every stage of your probation violation case.
Palm Beach County Probation Offices
West Palm Beach Circuit Office: This division of the Florida Department of Corrections handles probation for all of Palm Beach County.West Palm Beach – Circuit Office
423 Fern Street
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
(561) 837-5175 West Palm Beach – Central Office
4480 South Tiffany Drive,
Mangonia Park, FL 33407
(561) 881-5001 Belle Glade Office
38680 State Road 80
Belle Glade, FL 33430
(561) 992-2002 Boynton Beach Office
3200 South Congress Avenue
Boynton Beach, FL 33426
(561) 279-1650 Lake Worth Office
3444 South Congress Avenue
Lake Worth, FL 33461
County probation services are handled by a private company called Professional Probation Services for Palm Beach County, FL. Their offices are located at:4731 Atlantic Ave.
Delray Beach, FL 33445
(561) 381-9072 1280 North Congress Ave.
West Palm Beach, FL 33409
(561) 800-1719 1540 NW Ave., Suite 106
Belle Glade, FL 33430
Phone: (561) 992-7695
Application of Funds in Probation Cases in Palm Beach County, FL
The courts in the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit in Palm Beach County have enacted various administrative orders. Administrative Order Number 4.405-9/08 applies to the application of funds from the probationer. The order was signed by the Chief Jude in chambers at the courthouse in West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida, on September 3, 2008.
Persons placed on probation or community control in Palm Beach County may be required to make monetary payments through the Department of Corrections for multiple purposes. The courts recognized a need for consistency within the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit as to how monies shall be applied. The interests of victims are paramount in the view of the court.
Pursuant to the authority conferred by Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.215, the court found the following priority under which monetary payments are to be distributed:
- First, to any Restitution Order by the Court as a condition of probation until fully paid. Provided, this shall not apply to probationers while residing in a restitution center who shall pay in accordance with the rules of the center;
- Second, according to statutory priority, to any Court costs imposed as a condition of probation, until fully paid, and thereafter; and
- Third, to costs of supervision as determined by Administrative Order 4.403—9/08 (as amended).
When Court costs which are a condition of probation, the probation officer must determine at the end of the probationary period whether the probationer has made a good faith effort to make payment of the courts or exceptional circumstances exist.
If the probationer is unable to pay the court costs, then the probation officer shall, upon termination of the probationary period, present to the judge a cost judgment for entry.
Finding a Palm Beach County Attorney for a Probation Violation
The best choice you can make if you are under any kind of community supervision and think you will be accused of a violation is to hire a West Palm Beach probation violation lawyer immediately. We are familiar with the arrest procedures for violations of probation in Palm Beach County.
Our partners at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. respond to calls around the clock for people accused of violations in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. Call us now at (561) 557-8686 to set up a free consultation.
This article was last updated on November 10, 2016.