The law applicable to technical violations of probation (VOP) will change, hopefully for the better on July 1, 2016. Florida Statutes section 948.06 will be changed to add new language that allows the Chief Judge of the Circuit in consultation with the State Attorney and Public Defender to create alternative sanctions for alleged technical VOPs. The law does not apply to substantive violations. (technical v. substantive)
This move will allow for the creation of programs within each circuit. Therefore, what happens in a VOP case will depend on the Circuit in which your case is located. That results or punishments will vary depending on the county and/or circuit should just make clearer the need for local defense counsel.
Of course, the law requires a waiver of all of the probationer’s rights because it requires an admission. A waiver of the right to a defense attorney is required, there is no hearing, there is going to be presumably no record and the admission cannot be used in further violation proceedings. This gigantic removal of cases from the court system will save the State of Florida a lot of money by not having to pay court personnel, and saving time by reducing the caseloads of the State Attorneys and Public Defenders. Presumably, this will also reduce the load on the jails and prisons.
If an offender is alleged to have committed a technical violation of supervision that is eligible for the program, the offender may either waive participation in the alternative sanctioning program, or elect to participate. If the probationer does not participate in this new program, then the probation officer may submit a violation report, affidavit, and warrant to the court. The election is supposed to be made after written notice of the technical violation and a disclosure of the evidence.
This begs the question should you elect the alternative sanctions in a violation of probation? The answer is always going to be it depends. Unfortunately, this seems to be a money saving way to not appoint the Public Defender so many people will be making important decisions about their lives and probation without ever talking to a lawyer. Click, call or fill out the form to get help with the process.