What is probation?
Probation is community supervision which requires those convicted of a crime to be in regular contact with a parole, probation or community supervision officer. The court order will include certain terms or conditions to be followed. The definition is found in Chapter 948 of Florida Statutes.

Is probation a ‘right’?
No. Probation is considered a privilege in Florida. Its fundamental purpose is for the rehabilitation of a defendant but with the protection of society in view.

What is ‘willful’ violation of probation?
In Florida, violating of probation is violation of conditions imposed by a judge for a probationary sentence. This type of violation will differ from other criminal violations, in that a lower standard of proof is involved to substantiate the violation.

Can violation of probation be accidental?
If an individual believes that he/she has made reasonable attempts to comply with probationary terms, a violation cannot be considered ‘willful’. For instance, a defendant may be required to leave an area at a specific time. The individual cannot be accused of willful violation if a vehicle breakdown occurred.

What if a person is charged with violation of probation?
A violation of probation attorney should be consulted if you have been charged with a violation of probation. Arrest by itself is not necessarily grounds for revocation of probationary privileges. For instance, positive drug tests are often used as proof for probation violations. In these cases, the prosecution cannot present only the testimony of a parole officer’s observation or knowledge of laboratory results. A probationary attorney will require expertise in the form of drug test administered.

Another basis for probation violation is perceived willful failure to pay restitution, fines, cost of drug testing or supervision. The issue lies with whether the person refused to pay the fees, or could not afford to pay the fees.

Violation of probation must be proved a willful refusal to obey court mandates, not a violation dictated by circumstances of improper drug testing, untoward circumstances or poverty. If you are accused of violating felony or misdemeanor probationary orders, you have recourse to proper defense.