Florida Court Discusses Grounds for Revocation of Probation

Typically, when a person is convicted of a crime and sentenced to probation, the court will issue terms the person must comply with as part of his or her release. Thus, a defendant that violates one or more conditions of probation may face probation revocation. Recently, a Florida court issued an opinion discussing what is weighed in determining whether a violation of a condition of probation warrants revocation in a case in which the defendant on probation for aggravated battery was accused of violating numerous terms of his release. If you are accused of violating a probationary term, it is in your best interest to meet with a trusted St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney regarding your options.

History of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was charged with multiple crimes, including aggravated battery. He entered into a plea agreement that included sixty months of probation. In the first two years of his probation, the defendant was found to be in violation and was placed on community control. Another affidavit of violation was filed, alleging two additional violations of his community control, namely that he failed to remain in his residence and failed to complete a drug treatment program.

Allegedly, a hearing was held during which it was determined that the defendant was not present at his residence and his absence was not authorized, but that he was released from his drug treatment program due to health issues. He was found to have violated both conditions, and his community control was revoked. He was then sentenced to over five years in prison, after which he appealed.

Determining Whether a Violation of a Condition of Probation Warrants Revocation

A court reviewing a revocation order must first determine whether the finding that a defendant substantially and willfully violated the term of probation is supported by competent evidence. Further, a supervision violation will be deemed willful only when the defendant neglects to make reasonable efforts to comply with the condition that was allegedly violated. The court also noted that a revocation of probation based on a defendant’s failure to complete a rehabilitation program is only warranted when the failure was due to the defendant’s fault.

In the subject case, the appellate court found that there was substantial and competent evidence that the defendant violated the term of his probation that required him to remain in his residence. Regarding the condition that he completes drug treatment, however, the appellate court found that there was no willful violation.

The court explained that when some grounds for revocation are upheld on review and others are deemed invalid, the appropriate action is to reverse the order and remand for reconsideration unless it is clear that probation would have been revoked based on one of the upheld grounds. Here, the court found that the defendant would have been found in violation of his community control based upon his failure to remain in his residence. Thus, the revocation was affirmed.

Meet with a Trusted St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney

Many people convicted of crimes are fortunate to be sentenced to probation, but if they violate the terms of their probation, it can lead to harsher penalties. If you are charged with a probation violation, it is advisable to consult an attorney to discuss your rights. William Hanlon of Hanlon Law is a trusted criminal defense attorney who can assist you in fighting in pursuit of a just outcome. You can reach Mr. Hanlon through the online form or at 727-897-5413 to schedule a conference.

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