Terms of Probation in Florida
March 6, 2015
In Florida, courts often order probation as a penalty in a criminal conviction. Probation is a form of court-ordered supervision requiring that the probationer report to a probation officer and comply with the terms of the probation. Violation of probation is a criminal offense, and can result in probation being revoked and the defendant being incarcerated. Thus, it is essential to understand what probation is and what is required of the probationer.
While a person is on probation, he or she must obey the terms of the probation. There are two types of terms: standard conditions and special conditions. The probationer must also pay a monthly fee to reimburse the department for the cost of probation.
Standard conditions of probation are listed in Florida’s probation statute. The judge is not required to enumerate them at sentencing for these terms to be in effect. They are in effect in almost every probation order. The standard conditions are:
- Report to your probation officer as scheduled, at least once a month,
- Allow your probation officer to visit at home or at work,
- Remain employed at a suitable workplace, if possible,
- Stay in a specified area, typically the county where you reside,
- Do not violate any law, regardless of whether you are convicted,
- Pay any court-ordered restitution to the victim(s) of your crime,
- Pay any court-ordered restitution to the detention facility for any medical care received during incarceration,
- Pay any court costs and attorney’s fees,
- Support your dependents, e.g. by paying child support,
- Do not associate with anyone involved with criminal activity,
- Undergo random drug testing,
- Do not possess any firearm or any weapon that has not been approved by your probation officer,
- Do not possess drugs unless prescribed by a physician, do not use any intoxicants to excess, and do not visit places where drugs are sold or used,
- Submit a DNA sample for analysis, and
- Allow a digital photograph to be taken for the department’s records, which may be displayed on their website during court-ordered supervision.
In Florida, special conditions of probation are ordered on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to the circumstances of the particular offense. They must be stated by the judge at sentencing. Special conditions can include a wide array of provisions; for example:
- Community service,
- Payment of a fine,
- HIV awareness program,
- Counseling, such as for anger management,
- Substance abuse treatment,
- No contact policy, such as with a victim or a co-defendant,
- Mental health evaluations, or
A probationer can be charged with violation of probation if he or she fails to comply with the terms of his or her probation or if he or she commits a new offense. Violation of probation can result in the probationer being sent back to prison. However, if the probationer does comply with the terms of probation, he or she may petition the court for an early termination of probation.
Violation of probation is a serious offense in Florida. If you have been charged with a violation of probation, the advice of an experienced attorney is important. Please contact West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney William Wallshein for a free initial consultation.