The courts in the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit in Palm Beach County, FL, have enacted an administrative order to deal with alternative sanctions for misdemeanor offenders accused of violating the terms of their probation.
The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. are familiar with how the probation officers, prosecutors, and judges deal with violation of probation allegations in the courtrooms throughout Palm Beach County, FL. We can help you come back into compliance quickly so that you might avoid being arrested on a violation of probation arrest warrant.
Don’t just wait for officers to come to your home or work to serve the VOP arrest warrant. Instead, hire an experienced criminal defense attorney in West Palm Beach at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. to help you deal with the misdemeanor violation of probation allegation.
We also represent clients in felony violation of probation hearings throughout West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County, FL.
We can begin your defense today. Call (561) 557-8686.
Procedures after a Misdemeanor Probation Violation in Palm Beach County
The administrative order is number 4.412–3/16. The order was signed by the Chief Judge in chambers at West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida, on March 3, 2016. The administrative order recognizes that a substantial number of technical violations of probation by misdemeanants do not involve a new arrest or other serious violation.
If it is alleged that a person violated the terms of their misdemeanor probation then the probation officer will inform the probation of the terms that were allegedly violated and suggest alternative sanctions to resolve alleged violation(s) administratively. No offender is required to participate in alternative sanctions and may contest an alleged violation(s). Accepting alternative sanctions waives preliminary hearing on a violation of probation.
The misdemeanor probation provider has agreed to file an affidavit of violation of probation when first becoming aware of the violation(s). The affidavit shall indicate whether the probation officer will attempt to resolve the violation(s) through alternative sanctions. If so, the court shall issue a notice to appear to the offender.
The probationary term resumes upon the earliest to occur of the probation officer either filing a document withdrawing the affidavit or withdrawing the affidavit on the record. If the offender admits the violation to the probation officer, this admission shall be without prejudice to the offender and cannot be used against the offender as any proof of the alleged violation(s) in any future proceeding.
If the offender admits the violation and accepts alternative sanctions, the probation officer and offender shall both sign and date a form indicating what sanctions have been accepted. This form shall be submitted to the court, to which will be attached a copy of the affidavit of violation of probation. If the court accepts the offender’s offer to perform alternative sanctions, the court shall sign an order so indicating, and describe therein the alternative sanctions accepted.
If the court does not accept the offender’s offer to perform alternative Sanctions, the order shall so indicate and set a date, time, and place for a preliminary hearing on the alleged violation(s). A form copy of the order is attached hereto as Exhibit “A”.
Upon court approval, the probation officer shall inform the offender that he/she is to begin complying immediately with the alternative sanctions. The probation officer shall file a report indicating whether the offender has successfully completed alternative Sanctions.
Failing to comply with the alternative sanctions shall result in the offender being prosecuted under the affidavit of violation. No offender shall be eligible to participate in alternative sanctions for alleged violation(s) occurring while subject to previously accepted alternative sanctions.
Offenders are eligible to resolve alleged violations through alternative sanctions no more than twice during probation. The Clerk of Court shall create a unique docket code to track each Alternative Sanctions Order entered for statistical reporting purposes.
Benefits of Palm Beach County’s Misdemeanor Violation of Probation Program
The benefits of having a program for approved alternative sanctions for misdemeanor violation of probation include:
- Court dockets can be reduced;
- the workload of prosecutors and attorneys involved in misdemeanor violations can be reduced;
- law enforcement resources can be directed to more significant public safety concerns;
- the jail population can be reduced; and
- alternatives to incarceration can be provided by allowing an offender to remain productive in the community while taking responsibility for the offender’s actions.
The alternative sanctions described herein are advisory only and are offered merely as guidelines to offenders and probation officers to resolve violations as alternatives to incarcerating offenders.
Pursuant to the authority conferred by Florida Rule of JudicialAdministration 2.215, the Chief Judge created the Misdemeanor Alternative Sanctions Program in the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, Palm Beach County, Florid,a for alleged violations as set forth in paragraph 5.
Eligibility for the Misdemeanor Probation Violation Program
Participating in the alternative sanctions program for misdemeanor probation violations is within the discretion of the trial judge based upon the nature of the underlying offense, an offender’s criminal history, the nature of the alleged violation, and any other factor a judge may lawfully consider.
Alternative sanctions are not available to offenders who have new law violations, who abscond, or who have violated a “no contact” condition of probation. An offender who has participated in alternative sanctions twice during probation is ineligible to again be considered for alternative sanctions. The following matrix describes the alleged violation and corresponding alternativeSanction(s). All time periods (weekly, monthly) required herein run consecutively.
Types of Violations in Misdemeanor Cases in Palm Beach County
The different types of technical violations in misdemeanor cases in West Palm Beach, FL, include the following:
- Failing to report for the initial or any subsequent probation meeting.
- Changing residence or employment without prior notice to probation officer or traveling outside Palm Beach County without permission of court or probation officer.
- Positive drug test for non-prescribed Substances or alcohol use.
- Failing to submit to required random substance use testing use evaluation or attend treatment session(s) as recommended in an evaluation.
- Failing to initiate contact with, failing to submit timely to a recommended evaluation, or failing to begin or remain current with recommended treatment, or any other programmatic condition of probation not otherwise herein specified.
- Failing to submit timely to substance.
The approved sanctions can include additional requirements that the probation do one or more of the following:
- additional call-ins on a daily basis for at least 10 days;
- additional weekly call-in for 4 weeks;
- increase in the frequency of random substance use tests;
- substance abuse evaluation and successfully complete recommended treatment (for non-DUI underlying charge offenders); and
- additional hours of community service.
This article was last updated on Thursday, October 13, 2016.