A large number of criminal cases are resolved when the defendant agrees to go on a term of probation. Each case is different, with different facts, and that means no two periods of probation are identical. The rules and requirements of your probation will be tailored to the specific facts of your case. And, as long as you follow all of the rules, you will be rewarded at the end of your probation in the form of whatever agreement you made when entering probation. For most people, the agreement includes a reduction or dismissal of the charges, so long as the probationary terms are followed. This makes it critical to know, and to fully understand, what is included in the rules of your probation.
It should seem obvious that it would be a violation of your probation to commit another crime. But what about some of the other requirements, such as being ordered to attend drug or alcohol assessments or schools? What happens if you fail to report for these classes? Will it be considered a probation violation, for example, to skip drug treatment or counseling?
The answer is “yes,” but here are some things the prosecution will have to show in order to convict you of a probation violation. The prosecution has to prove that you “willfully and substantially” violated a specific term of your probationary sentence. This means the prosecuting attorney has to show the court that the failure to go to drug school was your “fault.” If, for example, your probationary terms are silent as to the time frame in which drug school must be completed, you have a good argument that you have not yet “failed” this requirement of your probation.
Ultimately, it would be up to the judge to determine if you “willfully and substantially” violated probation. The determination is made on an individual basis, which means the facts that are unique to your case are the facts that have to be considered. This can give you several options for defending a probation violation, but it does require thoughtful legal analysis. For more information on probation, violations of probation, and what you are required to do while serving probation, call us today.
If you want more information about how probation works, or what to expect while you are on probation, call our office for answers. Call an experienced criminal defense attorney in Key West to schedule an appointment today.