Articles Posted in Violations of Probation

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.

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798531-violation-of-probationA violation of your probation in Florida can be an extremely serious matter. If you’re found in violation, that can mean your serving many more years in jail than you otherwise would have without the violation. Given that many years of your freedom can be on the line, it is exceptionally important that you take a violation of probation matter very, very seriously. Be sure you have a knowledgeable Pinellas County probation violation attorney on your side to protect your rights and your freedom.

I.H. was someone who was out on probation but who did not stay out on probation. The state asserted multiple bases for violating I.H.’s probation. While I.H.’s probation was ultimately violated because he admitted in open court that he committed the crime of resisting a police officer without violence, his case still went before the Second District Court of Appeal. The part of that court’s ruling addressing some of the other alleged bases for violating I.H.’s probation offers some potential good news for others on probation.

In I.H.’s case, the state alleged he failed to pay court costs and failed to pay the costs of his drug testing. These were two of the “special conditions” of I.H.’s probation. A court may order a probationer to pay court costs and to pay for his drug testing as special conditions of probation, and violate that probationer’s probation if he doesn’t pay. The key thing is, though, that the trial judge has to explicitly include those conditions in the order of probation. If a condition (like paying court fees or drug testing charges) is not included in a person’s order of probation, the probation cannot violate the terms of his probation by failing to do it.

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798531-violation-of-probationIt can be easy to confuse probation and community control in Florida, but they are actually quite different. A person under community control can only leave his/her residence to go to work, to attend class (if he/she is a student), to perform public service, to attend medical treatment appointments or other activities (such as church attendance or completion of errands that the officer approves in advance.) In other words, one can think of community control somewhat like “house arrest.”

Probation and community control do have some things in common, however. One that the two are similar is that a violation can have extremely severe negative impacts, including having to go back to jail/prison for a period of many years. If you find yourself having been accused of a probation violation or a community control violation, make sure you act promptly to retain an experienced Pinellas County criminal defense attorney.

C.B. was an example of someone facing that type of major setback. He was out of prison on community control. However, the state charged with violating his community control by “failing to remain confined to his approved residence except as approved by his community control officer.”

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798531-violation-of-probationSometimes, even a seemingly minor crime can (depending on your circumstances) create big problems for you. That’s especially true if you’re on probation, where even a misdemeanor conviction may trigger a revocation of probation. The revocation of your probation could mean spending years in jail that you otherwise would have avoided.

That’s why, when there’s a potential probation revocation on the line, don’t take risks. Instead, fight the charge aggressively and contact an experienced Tampa Bay criminal defense attorney about your case.

For an example of how all this can work, there’s the case of A.N., which began after police in Hillsborough County were called to a motel on the basis of a “domestic violence incident.” The police officers who responded spoke with the alleged victim, and then spoke to A.N. (the alleged perpetrator) through an open window. They told the man they intended to arrest him for domestic battery.

If you or a loved one faces criminal charges, the first objective, obviously, is to attempt to secure a “not guilty” verdict. This is not, however, the only objective. Even after a “not guilty” verdict is out of reach, it is still important to have counsel on your side to ensure that the sentence the court hands down is not unjustly long. This was the case for a man accused of burglary and theft crimes, who successfully appealed a trial court’s decision to impose a statutory enhancement to his sentence.

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From the Tampa Bay Times, an article about the different tactics the HCSO uses to combat crime in a neighborhood…

Thanks in part to the help of a local community watch organizer, Tampa residents in the Clair-Mel area may at last be getting some relief. Hillsborough sheriff deputies, prodded by the neighborhood watch, sprung into action a few weeks ago. The deputies arrested dozens of men and women on warrants, drug violations and other offenses.

To the community organizer it was long overdue. “A lot of folks don’t want to speak up because they’re afraid of what’s happening, of all the violence,” she said. “Am I afraid? Not enough to not stand up and say there’s a problem here.” she stated.

Many Florida residences are often accused of crimes involving the illegal possession of controlled substances defined under Florida Statute section 893.13. Often people accused of these crimes are first time offenders or have often score non-state prison under the sentencing guidelines. Citizens scoring non-state prison are eligible for a term of probation that includes supervision by the Department of Corrections. A term of probation is often a very appealing offer from the State Attorney’s Office because in can used in place of jail or a prison offer or insure that the client is not a convicted felon. However, many people are placed on drug offender probation for drug offenses without knowing the strict conditions imposed during the super vision period. Additionally, people do not fully understand the ramifications of violating drug offender probation. It is essential that people placed on probation understand the requirement and the consequences of the supervision BEFORE he or she agrees to go on probation.

Drug offender probation is defined in Florida statute section 948.20. If it appears to the court upon hearing that the defendant is a chronic substance abuser whose criminal conduct is a violation of Florida statute section 893.13(2)(a) or (6)(a), the court may either adjudge the defendant guilty or stay and withhold the adjudication of guilt; and, in, either case it may stay and withhold the imposition of a sentence and place a defendant on drug offender probation. This allows people accused of drug crimes to plea to the charge and not be a convicted felon. However, strict requirements must be followed. Under Florida Statute 948.20(1) drug offender status shall include surveillance AND random drug testing.

What does this mean? If you agree to a term of probation, the probation officer will have the opportunity to search your house at any time without first obtaining a warrant from a Judge. This means at any time for any reason, your probation office can show up to search for any illegal items. You have essentially waived your rights to unlawful search and seizure afforded by the constitution. Second, under Florida Statutes you are REQUIRED to be randomly drug tested. You can expect to check into a website on a daily basis and if your number is called you must provide a sample of your urine. Failure to do so in a timely manner may violate your probation.

Additional conditions of drug offender probation may include a curfew from 10pm to 6am. Probationers may not leave the county without permission of his or her probation officer. Client’s placed on probation must pay $55 per month in costs of supervision. All financial requirement including fines and court costs MUST be paid by the end of the term. Failure to do so may result in a violation of probation warrant.Any violation of these terms of conditions will lead to a violation of probation warrant issued for your arrest. Once the warrant is issued, you will be entitled to a bond and will be held in custody on a zero bond status. This means no matter how much money you may have you are not eligible to be bonded from jail. You may be plucked from your home or car and be sitting in the jail for days or weeks before a Judge agrees to give you a bond. In many cases, if you violate your probation you may do more jail time than originally offered for your sentence.

Before you decide to take a probation sentence, be familiar with the terms and requirements BEFORE you agree to take the deal. In many cases, people serve longer jail sentences on a violation of probation than the jail offer on their original charge. Agreeing to be placed on probation can be a wise decision. It may keep you from being a convicted felon and could keep you out of jail. However, be aware of the strict conditions imposed on probation. Understand that any violation of probation can land you in jail without the possibility of bonding out. It is important to realize that people often serve longer jail sentences for a violation of probation charge than on the offer on the original underlying drug charge. If adjudication was withheld, an admission of the violation of probation will erase all the hard work and effort to keep from being a convicted felon.
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A rather disturbing story was featured in today’s St. Pete Times about a Seminole mother who tried to sell her son for $2,000 because of her addiction to prescription drugs.

The 5-year-old boy was excited to start kindergarten Tuesday in Tampa.

Jim and Betty Gardner, who have helped raise the boy since he was an infant, were working hard to prepare him by establishing a morning routine.

Now, they’re worried how his first school year will begin.

The child was taken into protective custody Saturday after authorities arrested his mother and accused her of trying to sell him to the Gardners for $2,000.

Jessica Mickles Beers, 28, whose last known address was in Seminole, was charged with Felony Sale of Parental Rights along with a Violation of Probation (VOP) on her pending Grand Theft charge. At her First Appearance Hearing on Sunday, bail was set at $10,000.Gardner, 58, said he and his wife met Beers when the boy was just a few months old after she called their church for assistance. They took food and diapers to her.

Beers essentially was homeless, but was living with other people. She asked to move in with the Gardners and they agreed, Gardner said.

For the next five (5) years or so, the Gardners, who have fostered numerous children over the years, helped take care of Beers and her child.

About two years ago, Beers began talking about having the couple take guardianship of her son but never followed through with it. Early Saturday, Gardner said, Beers called him and offered to sign away her parental rights if the Gardners would pay her $2,000.

“It was money or else …” Gardner said. “I thought ‘Whoa, that’s illegal.’ “He contacted the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO), which arrested Beers at a Seminole grocery store when she came to collect the cash.

The child was not with Beers, but she told authorities where he could be found, Gardner said. Gardner said he believes Beers is addicted to prescription drugs.
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As reported by BayNews9, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd is at it again.

In another “cost-cutting” measure, the Polk County Jail will no longer provide free underwear to its inmates.Normally, when an inmate is booked in the jail, they are given an orange shirt, orange pants and underwear.

In order to save money, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd has proposed making males inmates pay if they want their “tighty whities.”

The cost-saving measure was part of the sheriff’s 2011-2012 budget he presented to county commissioners Thursday afternoon. Judd said it will save the county $45,000.

Although women behind bars will still be provided underwear, the men will have to pay.

“For those who don’t want to pay, they can let the breeze blow up one leg and out the other,” Judd said (in classic Grady Judd fashion).

The idea drew smiles from several county commissioners and laughter from the crowd.

“You and I buy it at the store. So, if they want it, they can buy it,” he said. Judd said they are also cutting eleven (11) positions, including six (6) supervisors.

Judd says while his department is doing more with less, his highest priority remains keeping the people of Polk County safe.

Judd said the new policy will not cause the quality of service from the department to go down.

“None of these cuts will keep us from answering the call,” Judd said.

FYI — As for the underwear, it’s about $2.50 for briefs and $4.50 for boxers. The choice is up to the inmates.

“We give our inmates choices at our jail,” he said.

The new underwear rule will breeze into effect Aug. 1st.
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As we enter another Holiday Season, the Blake & Dorsten, P.A. would like to wish you and yours a Happy and Safe Holiday weekend.With the support of all of our friends, family and clients, 2010 was another excellent year for the Blake & Dorsten, P.A.. And for that, we have much to be thankful for this Holiday Season.

To our family and friends, thank you for your patience and understanding when it was necessary to work late nights and/or weekends.

To our business colleagues and our outstanding network of fellow attorneys, thank you for not only your referrals but for the trust that you have placed in the Blake & Dorsten, P.A. to provide an experienced and aggressive representation to those that you’ve sent our way.

And to both our former and present clients, thank you for the trust that you have placed in the Blake & Dorsten, P.A. to protect your rights and to handle your important criminal and/or traffic-related matters.

As many of you know, 2010 presented some different challenges for the Blake & Dorsten, P.A.. Without your support, we would not have been able to achieve the many successes that came our way.

On behalf of the entire Blake & Dorsten, P.A. team (Pam, Eryn, Oatie and myself), have a Happy, Healthy and Safe Holiday Season.As always, attorney Nicholas J. Dorsten will be available throughout the Holiday Weekend. In fact, we were very grateful to sign up a new Client today and make a Christmas Eve trip to the Pinellas County Jail.
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