Violation of Probation in Pinellas County
Completing probation is often more difficult, time-consuming, and expensive than expected. Even a small technical mistake can lead to an arrest or incarceration for a violation of probation.
What happens if you violate probation? If you violate probation, the judge might do one of the following:
- continue you on probation under the same terms and conditions;
- revoke probation;
- order a new term of probation;
- impose a term of incarceration; or
- impose any other sanction authorized under Florida law.
If you believe your probation officer will violate your probation, then act quickly to retain a criminal defense attorney experienced in fighting these cases in Pinellas County, FL, and throughout the Sixth Judicial Circuit.
The probation officers, judges, and prosecutors with the State Attorney’s Office move quickly in violation of probation (VOP) and violation of community control (VOCC) cases in Pinellas County, FL. You need an attorney who can move quickly on your behalf.
Find out more about how VOP cases are handled in Pinellas County including important procedural protections and defenses that may help you resolve your case for the best possible terms.
Attorney for VOP in Pinellas County, FL
After being placed on probation, you should strive to complete all special conditions of probation quickly so that you can apply for Early Termination of Probation. The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm can help you file and litigate a motion for early termination of probation.
We also represent clients who wish to file a motion to transfer probation, modify probation, or travel.
If you are accused of violating the terms of probation in a felony or misdemeanor case in Pinellas County, FL, we can represent you during that entire process. The best time to contact an attorney is before the probation officer files the affidavit alleging a technical or substantive violation.
Once the judge receives the affidavit or violation, the court might issue a warrant for your arrest or set a court date without issuing a warrant.
If you currently reside outside of Florida, an extradition warrant may be issued for your arrest. Many extradition cases involve violations of probation allegations. Read more about how to avoid extradition to Clearwater, Pinellas County, or resolve the case quickly after a felony violation of probation warrant to extradite is issued.
Misdemeanor Probation Violations in Pinellas County, FL
Even a first offense for a misdemeanor offense such as DUI, driving while license suspended, or domestic battery can result in probation. Special conditions of probation in these cases often include paying restitution, fines, court costs, and other monetary obligations, completing classes or counseling, or performing community service hours.
The judges in Pinellas County often issue “no bond” warrants for the probationer’s arrest after the probation officer submits a violation of probation affidavit. Because these VOP cases can clog the court’s dockets, these cases tend to move faster than other types of cases.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you find ways to come into compliance with any outstanding terms of your probation before the warrant is issued. The attorney can also request certain relief from the probation officer, including more time to complete the outstanding conditions before the affidavit of violation is filed.
After the court issues an arrest warrant for the VOP, you should immediately surrender yourself on the warrant unless your attorney files a motion to quash the warrant. If you must surrender at the jail, the attorney can represent you at the first appearance (advisory hearing) after the arrest or schedule an emergency bond hearing.
In some cases, your attorney might get permission from the court to file a “motion to surrender” you in the courtroom so that the warrant can be addressed before you go into custody.
The courts often appreciate the probationer’s efforts to resolve the case quickly and come into compliance with outstanding conditions. By working with an attorney you can find the best ways to explain to the judge why all special conditions can be met if you are given additional time.
Violation of probation cases are handled differently in the Pinellas County Criminal Justice Center in Clearwater, Florida. Call to speak to an attorney about the unique facts of your case.
Felony Probation Violations in Pinellas County
At Sammis Law Firm, we understand how felony violation of probation cases are handled in Pinellas County. Many people wonder if they really need an attorney in a violation of probation case.
Since the court often has the complete discretion to send you to prison for the statutory maximum period allowed (five years on a third degree felony, fifteen years on a second degree felony, or thirty years on a first degree felony) having an attorney present all mitigation in the case or represent you during a VOP hearing is critical.
For individuals labeled as a “violent felon of special concern” a dangerousness hearing often takes additional time to schedule. It has been estimated that 400 to 500 violators a year receive “no bond” because of the “violent felon” status in Pinellas County, FL.
All jurisdictions throughout Florida, including Pinellas County, must automatically deny bond to any individual charged with even a small technical violation of probation if that individual is tagged as a “violent felon of special concern.”
The procedures used for felony VOP cases have changed over the years. In March of 2016, for example, the Chief Judge issued Administrative Order Number 2016-008 PI-CIR that closed criminal section Q presided over by The Honorable Frank Quesada. Prior to its closure, Section Q operated as a separate section to hear felony VOP cases including most technical violations.
After Section Q was closed, all felony violation of probation matters previously heard by section Q are now heard in the circuit criminal section where the case is assigned.
Consequences of the Order of Probation in Pinellas County
After being placed on probation read the Order of Probation carefully. Regardless of what your probation officer tells you, follow each requirement set out in the order of probation religiously.
The court will issue a probation transmittal form that explains what the court ordered. The form explains where you must report. For example, if you were sentenced by the court to misdemeanor probation, you will be supervised by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
If you were sentenced at the Pinellas County Justice Center you might be required to report to “Room 1400” on the first floor, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. If you were sentenced at the Pinellas County Justice Center after 4:30 p.m., then you must report to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office within 24 hours.
If you were sentenced in either the North County or South County Traffic Court, then you must report to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office within 24 hours. When reporting to probation, be prepared to pay the $55 cost of supervision which has been ordered by the court. The failure to comply with the requirements can result in a violation of probation and your re-arrest.
For misdemeanor probation cases in Pinellas County, the probation officer will often have you sign a form acknowledging that you freely, knowingly, and voluntarily agree to abide by the following special conditions:
- anger management class (8 hours or 12 weeks)
- attorney’s fees
- community service
- cost of prosecution
- cost of supervision
- court fines and costs
- defensive driving school / advanced driver improvement with SUNCOAST SAFETY COUNCIL 727-442-0233
- the domestic violence intervention program
- DUI school level I or level II
- evaluation for alcohol or substance abuse
- investigative costs
- indigent fee
- jail sentence in Pinellas County
- Monitor Alcohol (CAM)
- Monitor GPS (EMP)
- No Alcohol / No Bars / No Clubs
- no contact with victim/area of offense
- random drug screens
- shoplifter’s anonymous education provided by ACF milepost 1-800-582-2799
- vehicle impoundment
- victim impact panel (1-800-GET-MADD for locations out of county)
If you are required to perform at least 8 hours of community service each month, then complete at least 8 hours of community service each month.
No matter what your probation officer tells you, make sure you follow all written requirements exactly.
Some people tell us that their probation officer has promised to give them extra time to complete the terms of probation or indicated that no violation will occur if they are behind in completing certain requirements of probation.
It is never safe to rely on a promise from a probation officer unless the judge modifies the terms of probation in writing to match that promise.
In fact, probation officers will often quit their job or are transferred to another position. A promise made by one probation officer may quickly be broken by the next one who takes over your case.
So it is best to just follow every requirement exactly or complete the conditions early.
Procedures Used by the Probation Specialist in Pinellas County
If you are sentenced to probation in Pinellas County, you will be required to complete a monthly report and deliver it to your probation specialist. The form requires you to list your name, address, telephone, and email address. The form asks several questions including:
“Have you been arrested, received any new charges or citations (even if you were not taken to jail) since your last report? If yes, what city did the incident take place? What was the nature of the charge?”
The form also requires you to declare to the best of your knowledge that the answers given are complete and true. You must also acknowledge that the answers you provided are considered to be part of the task assignment process for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Misdemeanor Probation Unit.
The form requires you to inform the Community Service Coordinator of any changes which may occur in your physical condition while under assignment to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Misdemeanor Probation Unit located at 14500 49th St. N. Suite 130, Clearwater, FL 33762, 727-464-7637.
You might also be asked to fill out a form called the “community service questionnaire” for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Misdemeanor Probation Unit which provides:
You have been court ordered to complete community service as a condition of your probation.The community service hours must be completed at a non-profit (with a 501C# Tax Exemption License) or government agency who will track all hours performed and report the completed hours on an official form.
You must meet with the Community Service Coordinator in person, of if you are on mail-in reporting, by telephone or email. They will assign you to an approved location or give you guidelines on what would be an acceptable location now to perform you community service. Once assigned to an agency, you may not change to another agency without approve of the Community Service Coordinator.
You are required to purchase community service insurance. (DO NOT START YOUR HOURS UNTIL YOU HAVE RECEIVE THE INSURANCE CARD).
Once you have an approved agency and your insurance card, then you may start your community service hours.
It is your responsibility to make sure that your completed hour are return to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Misdemeanor Probation Unit, along with the Community Service Insurance card.
The Community Service Insurance is a non-deductible death and disability insurance policy which covers you should you get injured while performing community service hours. The charge for the community service hours.
The charge for the community service insurance is $8.00 for every 50 hours to be completed. Example: $8.00 for 1 to 50 hours, $16.00 for 51 through 100 hours or so on.
Falsely reporting completion of community service hours is a crime and is punishable as contempt of court. This may result in a sentence of up to 6 month in the county jail per Florida Rules of Criminal Procedures 3.840.
In addition to the records or information identified in Fla. R. Gen. Prac. & Jud. Admin. 2.420, the Clerk of Court is authorized to maintain violation of probation reports as confidential, unless otherwise ordered by the Court, without requiring any other order of the Court or public notice. See Section 945.10(1)(b), Fla. Stat.
Pinellas County Misdemeanor Probation Office – Beginning on September 2, 2013, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) took over the duties of supervising people sentenced to misdemeanor probation. All probationers are now sent to report at one central location in order to comply with their court-ordered probationary obligations.
Hours of Operation:
7:00 am to 5:00 pm
Monday through Friday
Information on probation violations from the Clerk of the Circuit Court – The Clerk of the Circuit Court for Pinellas County is run by Ken Burke. Find out more about how to resolve a violation of probation case, including information on avoiding extradition to Florida on a fugitive warrant for absconding.
Florida’s Anti-Murder Act Has Unintended Consequences – This article was published on January 9, 2011, from tampabay.com. The article shows the unintended consequences of Florida’s anti-murder act which automatically denies bond to people accused of even minor technical violations of probation if they are labeled a “violent felon of special concern.” The story tracks a felony violation of probation in Pinellas County with Circuit Judge Frank Quesada and explains that the “dangerousness” hearings take weeks to schedule to give the state and defense time to subpoena witnesses and prepare their case. The violation of probation division for Pinellas County in Clearwater, FL, handles “technical” probation violations and arrests on new misdemeanor offenses but does not include any new arrest for a felony charge. The Honorable Frank Quesada estimates that between 400 to 500 violators a year receive “no bond” because of the “violent felon” status.
Finding an Attorney for Probation Violations in Pinellas County, FL
If you think the probation officer will violate you for not completing a standard or special condition of probation, then act quickly to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
We can help you complete the special conditions of your probation so that you can come back into compliance. We can help you decide the best way to address the allegation that you violated probation.
Contact the attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss the unique facts of your case for any misdemeanor or felony VOP warrant.
We can begin your defense today. Call 813-250-0500.
This article was last updated on Friday, July 29, 2022.