Violation of Probation in Pasco County
Florida Statute Section 948.03, F.S., provides that a court must determine the terms and conditions of probation. Standard conditions of probation that are listed in Section 948.03, F.S. Additionally, the court will announce special conditions of probation such as the payment of restitution or any requirement to get counseling.
Probation is a form of community supervision requiring regular contact with the probation officer assigned to the case.The court can also impose other special conditions that must be completed during the term of the probation. Specialized forms of supervision include drug offender probation.
Attorney for Probation Violations in Pasco County, FL
The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm represent people charged with felony and misdemeanor probation violations in Pasco County, FL, at the courthouse in New Port Richey and Dade City.
From a simple misdemeanor to a very serious felony offense, we can help you resolve the VOP case with the goal of avoiding any additional incarceration and getting the probation terminated successfully.
When you call, we can help you decide the best course of action. Different judges use different procedures when resolving these cases so it helps to have an attorney familiar with the particular practices used in that courtroom.
Hiring an attorney early in the process often leads to the best results. The courts will often give a better outcome if the person finds a way to complete any outstanding terms or conditions before the hearing (often called “coming into compliance”). The courts also look at whether the probationer voluntarily surrendered on the VOP warrant.
If your VOP warrant was issued in error or by mistake, your criminal defense attorney can file a motion to quash the VOP warrant so that you can avoid going into custody altogether. At the hearing on the motion, the court can simply withdraw the warrant if that action is warranted by the facts of the case.
Act quickly to resolve the VOP case with the help of an experienced attorney who can protect your rights during each stage of the process. Call us at (813) 250-0500 to find out more about your best strategy for fighting the VOP allegation.
Misdemeanor Probation in Pasco County, FL
The misdemeanor probation program in Pasco County began supervision services on January 1, 1993. With a staff of fourteen, Misdemeanor Probation in Pasco County has two offices. One misdemeanor probation office is in New Port Richey and the second office is in Dade City.
Click here for information on Felony Probation in Pasco County.
The New Port Richey office has seven (7) Misdemeanor Probation Officers who supervise approximately 1,450 cases per month. The Dade City office is smaller with two (2) Probation Officers and one (1) Lead Probation Officer. The Dade City Probation Office supervises approximately 575 cases per month.
Misdemeanor probation in Pasco County, FL, is totally self-supported by the cost of supervision each defendant is required to pay. For the fiscal year 2014, for example, $822,303.83 was collected for Cost of Supervision and $196,606.08 was collected in restitution for victims.
What Does the Probation Officer Do?
At both the New Port Richey and Dade City probation offices, the probation officer performs the following tasks:
- conducts monthly interviews and contacts with defendants;
- verifies compliance of conditions ordered;
- reports back to the Courts;
- collects restitution for victims;
- reviews court records to ascertain if new charges were filed;
- prepares the Violations of Probation affidavit when appropriate; and
- testifies as a witness for the prosecutor with the State Attorney’s Office at Violation of Probation hearings.
In 2016, the average caseload for probation officers in East Pasco County was 150 individuals per probation officer. Three misdemeanor probation officers serve East Pasco County. The average caseload for probation officers in West Pasco County was 220 individuals per probation officer with no maximum caseload. Five misdemeanor probation officers serve West Pasco County.
When you meet with your probation officer, you will be asked whether:
- your telephone number changed:
- your address changed:
- you received any traffic citations; or
- you were arrested since your last visit.
You will be asked to acknowledge that you are required to report monthly to probation and pay fees, by money order, as ordered by the court. If you are unable to report, you must call the probation department with a legitimate reason to reschedule. Every statement that you make to the probation office will, must be true to the best of your knowledge. If you violate your probation, then you will be subject to recourse by the court.
Types of Misdemeanor Probation Cases
In Florida, the judges in county court sentence people to probation for many different types of misdemeanor criminal offenses including:
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI);
- Driving While License Suspended or Revoked (DWLSR);
- Possession of Marijuana;
- Petit Theft or Shoplifting;
- Domestic Violence Battery;
- Simple Battery or Assault;
- Resisting Arrest without Violence;
- Obstruction of Justice;
- Reckless Driving; and
- Felony offenses that are reduced to misdemeanors.
What Happens If I Violate Probation?
When the probation officer finds out that the terms of probation have been violated, then the probation officer will send an affidavit of violation to the court. A prosecutor with the State Attorney’s Office in Pasco County is also notified of the probation violation.
The affidavit will usually ask the court to issue a “no bond” arrest warrant. In some cases, the probation officer will ask the court set a bond amount on the warrant. In other cases, the affidavit may ask the court to set a court date without issuing an arrest warrant.
After the person is picked up on the warrant, the court will set a court date on the VOP case. If the person “admits” the violation then the Court will impose the sentence.
Sometimes the court just reinstates the probation with the same terms and conditions or the court can impose additional conditions. In other cases, the court will revoke and terminate the probation and sentence the person to jail time or prison time.
The sentence can include incarceration up to the maximum allowed for the underlying charge. For instance, if the person is charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, the court is usually authorized to impose any sentence up to twelve (12) months in jail (although the court rarely imposes the statutory maximum).
If adjudication was originally “withheld” after a VOP hearing the court can “adjudicate” you guilty of the underlying offense. Maintaining the “withhold” is extremely important in these cases because a conviction comes with additional collateral consequences.
In many cases, the probationer’s criminal defense attorney will ask the court to give the person another chance by reinstating the probation with the original terms and conditions. In other cases, the attorney may be asking the court to just terminate the probation because all conditions have been resolved.
If the person “denies” the allegation, then the Court will schedule a VOP hearing. At the hearing, the prosecutor must prove the violation was “willful” and “substantial.” The case must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence (not the higher standard of beyond all reasonable doubt).
If the new allegation occurred after an arrest for a new criminal charge then the prosecutor must usually prove that the person committed the new law violation by a preponderance of the evidence.
Misdemeanor Pretrial Intervention Cases in Pasco County
The misdemeanor probation program in Pasco County also supervises individuals who agree to enter the MIP program. MIP stands for “Misdemeanor Pretrial Intervention.” This program was created to divert certain cases away from the court. Those cases include “first offenders” or people who have no prior criminal record.
One benefit of entering the MIP program in Pasco County, FL, is that the State Attorney’s Office will drop the charges if all of the special conditions of the diversion program are successfully completed. After the charges are dropped, the individual might then be eligible to expunge the criminal record to get rid of the mugshot and other embarrassing details about the case so they are hidden from public view.
Entering the Misdemeanor Intervention Program (MIP) in Pasco County may not be the best course of action. For certain professionals such as lawyers, doctors, nurses, school teachers, other educators, members of the military or law enforcement a criminal accusation can be a career-ending event. For these professionals, entering MIP may have the same collateral consequences as a conviction.
Felony Violation of Probation Cases in Pasco County, FL
For individuals sentenced to felony probation in Pasco County, FL, the Department of Corrections will supervise the probation. Felony probation violations are extremely serious.
Even if you leave the state of Florida, it is possible that law enforcement officers in another state will lock you up until you are extradited back to Florida on the violation of probation warrant. The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm represent clients who are facing extradition back to Pasco County on a warrant for a felony violation of probation.
Contact InformationNew Port Richey Misdemeanor Probation Office
7517 Little Road, Suite A
New Port Richey, FL 34654
(727) 834-3300 Dade City Misdemeanor Probation Office
38053 Live Oak Avenue
Dade City, FL 33523
Finding a Lawyer for Probation Violations in Pasco County, FL
If you believe that your probation officer will allege that you violated probation then contact an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. We represent men and women in VOP cases in Pasco County at the courthouse in New Port Richey and Dade City.
During the free and confidential consultation, we can discuss the facts of your case, determine whether an active arrest warrant has been entered into the system, find ways for you to come into compliance prior to the hearing, and discuss important defenses that might apply to your case.
Our attorneys are familiar with defenses that apply to both misdemeanor and felony VOP charges. We can also help you file and litigate a motion for early termination of probation.
Call us today to discuss your case at (813) 250-0500.
This article was last updated on Friday, March 1, 2019.