Violation of Probation for High Risk Sex Offenders

Sections 903.0351 and 948.06, Florida Statutes, and Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.790, require courts in Florida to identify high-risk sex offenders who are charged with violating the terms of their felony probation or community control.

Florida law requires that certain persons who have been arrested be detained without bail, pending a determination by a court as to whether that person poses a “danger to the public.” Those provisions of Florida law include the Jessica Lunsford Act and the Anti-Murder Act.

After an arrest on a violation of probation warrant, Section 948.061(2) requires that local, state, and national criminal histories will be provided to the Court at first appearances for any person designated as a high?risk sex offender.

During the first appearance hearing, the court officials make sure that the court knows that the person is designated as a high risk sex offender under the requirements of the Jessica Lunsford Act (“JLA”) or the Anti-Murder Act (“AMA”).

Attorney for Sex Offender Violation of Probation Cases in Tampa, FL

If you are on probation for a sexually motivated offense and your probation officer has alleged that you violated probation, then seek out the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you. The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm in Tampa, FL, fight violation of probation cases, including serious cases that fall under the Jessica Lunsford Act or the Anti-Murder Act.

We represent clients on felony VOP cases in Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Hernando County, and Polk County, FL.

Call (813) 250-0500 today to discuss your case.

The Application of the Jessica Lunsford Act in Florida

These rules under the Jessica Lunsford Act (“JLA”) apply to anyone before the court for a violation of probation or community control for the following offense:

  • Under supervision for any criminal offense proscribed in chapter 794, Florida Statutes (Sexual Battery, including Attempts & Solicitations);
  • Under supervision for any criminal offense proscribed in chapter 800, Florida Statutes, under the following subsections:
    • 800.04(6) (Lewd or Lascivious Conduct) (victim is less than 16 years of age);
    • 800.04(5) (Lewd or Lascivious Molestation) (victim is less than 16 years of age);
    • 800.04(4) (Lewd or Lascivious Battery) (victim is between 12 years of age and 16 years of age);
    • 847.0145 (Selling or Buying of Minors) (victim is less than 18 years of age); and
    • 827.071 (Sexual Performance by Child) (victim is less than 18 years of age).

Before a JLA defendant may be released from custody, with or without bail, at first appearance or at a bond motion hearing, the Court must first conduct a hearing and make a determination, supported by written findings, that the defendant is not a danger to the public.

Danger to the Public Hearings under Section 948.06(4)

At the hearing, the defendant shall have the right to be heard in person or through counsel, to present witnesses and evidence, and to cross-examine witnesses. In determining the danger posed by the defendant’s release, the court may consider:

  • the weight of the evidence against the defendant;
  • the likelihood that the defendant will engage again in a criminal course of conduct;
  • the defendant’s history and conduct during the probation and community control supervision from which the violation arises;
  • any other previous supervisions, including disciplinary records of previous incarcerations;
  • the defendant’s family ties, length of residence in the community, employment history, and mental condition;
  • any other evidence of allegations of unlawful sexual conduct or the use of violence by the defendant;
  • any record of arrests without conviction for crimes involving violence or sexual crimes;
  • the nature and circumstances of the violation and any new law offenses charged; and
  • the defendant’s past and present conduct, including convictions of crimes.

The first appearance judge shall order that every JLA defendant be held without bail pending a properly noticed “danger to the public” hearing as required by section 948.06(4), Florida Statutes (2008). This “danger to the public” hearing shall be scheduled if and when defense counsel files a motion to set bail or other appropriate motion.

In its discretion, the Court may conduct a “danger to the public” hearing at first appearance (but only by stipulation of both the State and the defense). Such hearings at first appearance are extremely rare because “danger to the public” hearings require research and preparation by the State and the defense.

This article was last updated on Friday, December 8, 2017.