If you are one of the 146,000 individuals who have been sentenced to serving time on probation in the Sunshine State, you’re a lot better off than those who are stuck behind bars. Nonetheless, probation is not a free ride, and you will have to get used to a lot of rules, and to having someone in your business all the time!
Who Gets Probation
With the help of an able criminal defense attorney, it is possible to be sentenced to probation rather than incarceration if you are a first-time offender or if you have been found guilty of a non-violent crime. Sometimes individuals are even allowed to serve out the remainder of a prison sentence on probation (supervised release). Probationers might be drug offenders, or shoplifters, fraudsters or cyber criminals. There are even special programs for sex offenders.
What to Expect
Your new best friend is going to be your probation officer (PO). That’s because you will have to meet with your PO on a regular basis and get permission from them to do things that you used to do without a second thought. Your PO is responsible for making sure you stay on track and avoid further trouble with the law. You’re going to have to adhere to new rules, including:
- Reporting to your PO whenever they wish;
- Allowing random visits and searches of your home, job, car, etc. by your PO;
- Working and earning a living to support your family;
- Staying out of legal trouble;
- Staying away from others who participate in criminal activity;
- Paying restitution as ordered by the court;
- Staying away from controlled substances;
- Paying supervision fees, fines, and court costs;
- Staying away from firearms;
- Possibly participating in an intervention program for addicts, anger management, etc.;
- Staying in the physical area defined by your PO and leaving only with permission;
- Submitting to mandatory drug testing on a random basis.
Violating the Terms of Your Probation
You really do not want to violate the terms of your probation! It could result in an arrest and a visit to the local jail. If you’re on felony probation, you could even be sent back to prison and lose the privilege of probation altogether. In any case, you will likely be looking at stricter terms to your probation, additional fines, and more time added to your probationary period. It’s just not worth it.
A Strong Criminal Defense
At The Law Office of Julia Kefalinos, our experienced Miami criminal defense attorneys understand the desire to avoid prison, and work to achieve the best possible outcomes for you. To discuss the possibilities, schedule a confidential consultation in our Miami office today.