When you face charges for a community control (i.e., house arrest) or felony probation violation, your probation officer or any other law enforcement officer can arrest you without a warrant on the spot, as per Florida Statute § 948.06(1)(a). He can also instead ask the court to set a court date for you to review your violation and deal with it appropriately.
In 2016, Pinellas County reformed the procedures officers must use to hold probationers in violation accountable, and made changes to its criminal judicial system processes that affect people on probation or community control. On March 1, 2016, Judge Anthony Rondolino signed Administrative Order 2007-081 PA/PI-CIR, which specifies the types of violations of probation that the Department of Corrections (DOC) must report by either a technical violation letter or Notice to Appear.
What kinds of changes did the administrative order establish?
The administrative order classifies violations of probation into two categories:
- Less severe violations: When a probationer violates the terms of his parole in one of the following ways, the order stipulates that the DOC has the choice to report the alleged violations to the assigned judge either by a technical notification letter or by affidavit and a Notice to Appear:
- Failing to report to the probation officer as directed
- Lying to the probation officer
- Disobeying the probation officer’s instructions,
- Failing to obtain permission prior to moving from an approved residence
- Failing to obtain permission prior to leaving approved employment
- Failing to comply with the terms of curfew
- Failing to obtain permission prior to leaving the county
- Failing to make restitution
- Failing to pay court costs under a payment plan
- Failing to perform required community service
- Committing an ordinance violation
More severe violations: When a probationer’s violations are more serious, the order stipulates that technical violation letters are insufficient, and that the DOC must instead submit an affidavit and proposed Notice to Appear to the assigned judge. Any of the following violations will land you in court or jail:
- Testing positive on a drug screen
- Committing a second-degree misdemeanor
What happens when the DOC reports a violation of probation?
When a judge receives a technical notification letter that a probationer has violated the terms of his sentence, she has two choices:
- Determine that the alleged violation does not require action by the court, in which case the judge will forward the letter to the Clerk of the Circuit Court for filing in the court file.
- Determine that the alleged violation does require court review, in which case she will return the letter to the DOC with a directive to promptly submit an affidavit so that the court may either issue a Notice to Appear or a warrant.
When the DOC submits an affidavit, it must indicate whether the DOC is seeking a warrant for the arrest of the offender or is merely requesting the Court to issue a Notice to Appear. The DOC must also indicate in the affidavit whether the offender has ever been convicted or has currently alleged to have committed a “qualifying offense” as defined in Florida Statute § 948.06 such as murder, kidnapping, molestation, or aggravated battery.
When a judge receives a receive a Notice to Appear for a probationer, she may either:
- Sign the Notice to Appear and set a date for a hearing on the violation. In this case, the DOC will notify the offender of the court date; or
- Determine that the alleged violation requires arrest of the offender and return the Notice to Appear to the DOC with a directive to promptly submit a warrant.
Accused of violating your probation? Goldman Wetzel can help.
Getting convicted of violating your probation can mean serious sanctions, including fines, jail time, and more probation time. If you have been accused of or arrested for violating your probation, call Goldman Wetzel in St. Petersburg to speak with our probation violation attorneys.
Our attorneys, who work together on each case, represent people charged with all types of misdemeanors and felonies, and will ensure your rights are upheld during the proceedings. We will aggressively defend your case and seek the best possible outcome for you.
Contact our office at 727-828-3900 today. The initial consultation is free.