Technical Probation Violations

Clearwater Criminal Lawyers Protecting the Rights of the Accused

When you are facing serious criminal charges, the option to go onto probation can sometimes feel like a relief. The idea of avoiding jail time and other penalties in exchange for a probationary sentence is appealing, and is in fact many times the best resolution to your case. The prevalence of probation sentences, however, has had the effect of lulling criminal defendants into a false sense of security. Just because probation is not jail or prison, does not mean that it is easy and it does not mean that your civil liberties will not be curtailed. If you are facing the possibility of probation, you should contact a skilled Clearwater criminal lawyer immediately to discuss your options.

Once placed on probation, you will be instructed about the various conditions of probation you will be required to adhere to. Some conditions are obvious: do not commit new crimes; do not test positive for illegal drugs, etc. Some conditions, however, are less clear and can result in you being violated for not strictly complying with terms of probation. If your probation officer determines that you have violated one of the conditions of probation, you can end up facing what is known as a technical violation of probation.

Types of Technical Violations

Technical violations are the most common types of probation violation. A technical violation is any violation of probation that does not involve the commission of a new crime. These types of violations include positive drug tests, failing to attend probation appointments, and failing to pay probation related costs. Technical violations can run the gamut from being extremely minor to extraordinarily serious.

On the minor end of the technical violation spectrum are monetary violations. Monetary violations are any probation violations relating to your failure to pay costs such as fines, costs of supervision or restitution. Monetary violations are typically easy to defend because these violations are difficult for prosecutors to prove. Not only must prosecutors prove that you failed to pay the money that you owe, but they must also prove that you willfully failed to pay it. This means that prosecutors must present evidence that you in fact had an ability to pay and willfully refused to pay. Monetary violations for failure to pay fines and costs are less serious than violations for failure to pay restitution, because restitution goes directly to victims of crimes instead of to the states.

Another type of technical violation is the positive drug sample. One of the standard conditions of probation is that you may not consume illegal drugs while on probation. To enforce this condition, probationers are subjected to random drug screenings. The type of drug for which you test positive can affect the seriousness of your violation. For example, those that test positive for marijuana may be treated more leniently than those that test positive for heroin. If you are concerned about a positive drug sample, you should contact an experienced Clearwater criminal defense attorney immediately. Having a skilled attorney review your sample to determine whether the sample is tainted or a false positive can be an effective defense.

Probation conditions that are non-standard are known as special conditions of probation. For example, if you are on probation for DUI, it is likely that you have a special condition requiring you to complete DUI school and community service. If you are on probation for drug possession, you might have a special condition requiring you to seek treatment for addiction or abuse. And if you are on probation for a violent offense, you might have a no-contact order or a special condition that you obtain anger management treatment. Special conditions can cause additional problems because they are more difficult for probation officers to interpret and enforce. Unfortunately, probation officers are often overworked and understaffed, which may result in them simply violating you instead of helping you understand the terms of your probation.

Hire a Dedicated Criminal Defense Lawyer in Clearwater Today

The attorneys at Hanlon Law have a wide range of experience dealing with probation violations. We can develop the best strategy to defend your case. Call us today to schedule a consultation at (727) 897-5413.