Accused of a Probation Violation in Florida? How to Overcome a Case that’s Based on a Missed Curfew

Many times, your probation may carry with it certain conditions. One common condition is to require that you be at home during certain hours of the day. When you have conditions like that, you can expect curfew checks by your probation officer. If your probation officer makes a check and can’t find you, you may be charged with a technical violation of your probation and have your probation revoked. This, of course, is a very serious thing that should motivate you to obtain skilled legal counsel from an experienced Tampa Bay probation violation attorney. Just because your probation officer came to you home but didn’t find you, that doesn’t always mean that you violated the conditions of your probation. Sometimes, the state’s evidence is simply not enough to uphold a finding of a violation, and your knowledgeable attorney can help you make that case.

For example, take K.E., a Tampa teenager who had been sentenced to one year of imprisonment and three years’ probation. The probation included several specific obligations, including that K.E. be at home from 10 pm to 6 am every day.

In April 2019, K.E.’s probation officer performed a curfew check at 5 am. She twice knocked on the home’s front door and called inside, but no one answered. After 10 minutes, she left. Five days later, the officer returned. This time, it was 5:30 in the morning. The front door was ajar, and she could see a man sleeping on the couch, whom she did not recognize to be K.E. She knocked and called inside, but the man on the couch remained asleep and no one answered the door.

When it comes to your probation violation case, details (even small details) can matter a great deal and can make the difference between going back to jail or not.

How details about ‘how’ and ‘when’ can strengthen your case

In its legal arguments, the state asserted that K.E.’s situation was similar to a 1988 case in which the accused was found to have violated the conditions of his community control. However, the details of K.E.’s situation were different than those in the case from the 1980s. In the 1988 case, the officer knocked on the home’s front door, side door and windows on all sides of the home. K.E.’s probation officer conducted each of her two checks by knocking and calling out from the front door only.

Additionally, and more critically, the officer in the 1988 case showed up in the late afternoon, at a time when an occupant would reasonably be expected to be “awake and aware,” and would hear and respond to someone knocking on all the home’s doors and windows. By contrast, K.E.’s officer showed up in the pre-dawn hours of the early morning and knocked from exactly one spot, making it entirely plausible that K.E. could have been inside as required, and simply have slept through the officer’s knocking and calling. (In fact, K.E.’s mother testified that K.E. was a “hard sleeper.”)

So, in this case, the details (including when the officer made her curfew check and how she made that check) were critically important in allowing K.E. to defeat the state’s claim of probation violation.

When you’re facing a violation of probation charge, even seemingly small details can make big differences. You need a legal team experienced in spotting those helpful details and defeating the state’s claim of a violation. The knowledgeable Tampa Bay area probation violation attorneys at Blake & Dorsten P.A. are here to give you to that sort of powerful and persuasive legal representation. Our attorneys have been helping people accused of probation violations in Florida for many years. Call us today at (727) 286-6141 to schedule your FREE initial consultation.

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