Violation of probation or VOP is a serious matter that can land you back in prison or facing hefty fines. For instance, if an individual is on probation for a third degree felony and fails to comply with one of the conditions set by the court, a subsequent violation charge can subject that person to up to five years in Florida State Prison.
Violation of probation or community control charges are difficult because the terms of probation are usually complex and include many factors, violation of which can have severe consequences.
The Florida statute governing VOP is broad and provides law enforcement and the courts broad powers to enforce a VOP charge. Statute 948.06 reads:
“Whenever within the period of probation or community control there are reasonable grounds to believe that a probationer or offender in community control has violated his or her probation or community control in a material respect, any law enforcement officer who is aware of the probationary or community control status of the probationer or offender in community control or any probation officer may arrest or request any county or municipal law enforcement officer to arrest such probationer or offender without warrant wherever found and return him or her to the court granting such probation or community control.”
The key words in the statute are “reasonable grounds” which are subjective criteria and favor law enforcement over the one serving probation. On the positive side, the standard for a violation of probation is it must be “substantial and willful.” See the Florida supreme Court case of State v. Carter, 835 So.2d 259 (Fla. 2002) for the definitions of “substantial and willful.”
Florida probation violations or breaches of community control are serious and if you suspect you or a loved one has committed some violation of the probation terms, consult and expert criminal defense attorney immediately. Do not wait until the police or your probation officer comes knocking on your door.