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I have a violation of probation but it is "just a technical", what can they do to me?

While the law engenders many questions, one of the most common areas of confusion for probationers is the law on violation of probation or VOPs. Violation of probations can be alleged for either technical or substantive reasons. A new law violation, such as a new charge for possession of marijuana or DUI while on probation, is a substantive violation. Meanwhile, an example of a technical violation of probation would be testing positive for marijuana while on probation or otherwise having a dirty urine or screen. Failure to pay restitution or failing to complete community service hours are other examples of technical violations of probation.

One of the most confusing things for ordinary citizens to understand, is that in a VOP proceeding, the State's burden is that of preponderance of the evidence and not beyond a reasonable doubt. I spend more time repeating this than anything else in probation violation proceedings. My example for preponderance of the evidence standard is that if you imagine two piles of grains of sand, each with exactly the same amount of grains, then you take one grain of sand and remove it from one pile adding it to the other, then the pile with that one additional grain of sand would meet the burden. It is also referred to as "more likely than not".

Whether the alleged violation of conditions of probation is technical or substantive, the answer to the question "what can they do?" is the same in Florida. Under current Florida law, a violation of probation is a resentencing and the judge can impose any legal sentence including the statutory maximum. Therefore if a probationer is on probation for possession of cocaine and screens dirty, then the judge could legally sentence that probationer to five (5) years.

Remember that if your loved one is facing a probation violation, you should not walk into court alone. I provide free consultations in VOP matters.

3 Comments

Goodday, I reside in osceola county. My son is on probation at his PO says he VOP by failing a drug test. My son was sik at the time but not on prescribed medication until the day after. What can hapen to him

Hello, reside in alachua county. my son is on probation his po violated him due to missing a drug evaluation orientation on the 4th of march 2013. but he had a orientation on the 5th for community hours that he did attend, but thinkingthat was the same orientation because that was the one the P.O. stressed not to missed. so we are just finding out that is why he was violated. also he was at work on the 4th. so how do we handle this? i do know he have to turn himself in, but we want to know if he will have to serve time. please help..

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