Fort Lauderdale Criminal Attorney William Moore handles many different types of criminal defense cases, including driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. One common issue that trips up many new clients is probation. Probation is a tool frequently used by judges or offered by state attorneys in plea agreements. It is less costly than imprisoning or jailing a person, yet still allows for the state to exercise a large degree of control over an offender.
One of the most common ways a person ends up on probation is after taking a plea deal. In exchange for a guilty plea, the prosecutor may agree to offer, for example, a year of probation. For a criminal defendant who has a difficult case to win at trial, this may be a good offer, depending on the circumstances of his or her individual case, says Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney Moore. After all, there is certainty that the defendant can avoid time in jail.
Probation is not as easy as some people believe it is, however, and the defendant must comply with numerous requirements. He will have to pay various fees and will likely be forbidden from consuming drugs or alcohol. He will be subjected to random drug tests. He cannot be arrested again for any other crime.
The consequences of violating probation are serious. In a violation of probation hearing, the state does not need to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, as it does in a trial for a regular crime. The defendant does not get to have a jury trial and can event be forced to incriminate himself by giving testimony – no taking the Fifth Amendment. There’s no bail while awaiting a violation of probation hearing, so you could be stuck in jail for weeks while you await your hearing. Even something as simple as failing to pay court costs counts as a violation of probation.
When sentencing you, the judge can be as harsh as he or she could have been when sentencing for the under lying crime (the one that resulted in the probation). So even if you complete 11 of 12 months of probation successfully, the judge could order you to jail for another year, according to Broward criminal attorney Moore. However, the outcome of a violation of probation depends on the unique facts of each case.
Fort Lauderdale Criminal Attorney William Moore has years of experience in criminal defense, including sex crimes and DUI. A felony or misdemeanor conviction of any type can have far-reaching consequences on your freedom, your employment, and your personal life. If you have been arrested in south Florida, contact William Moore, P.A., with offices in Fort Lauderdale-Dade, Broward, and Fort Lauderdale Counties.