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The Adams Law Firm, P.A. has attorneys ready to talk and to help resolve you violations affecting you and your loved ones. We understand how disruptive and traumatizing a Violation of Probation can be to your family. A violation of probation is different that allegations of a crime, because:
Lower standard of proof;
No right to a trial by jury
No right to bond
No right to remain silent
Hearsay is admissible
Less bargaining power with the prosecutor
Lower Standard of Proof:
For all new law violation, the state must prove you guilty beyond all reasonable doubt. This is a very high standard and can often be very difficult, even when a person is in fact guilty of a crime. As a result, the state often agrees to sentences much less than what the would like to impose. This also results in the dismissal of lot of cases, especially when the state has witness problems. For violations of probation, the state does not need to prove this high standard. The state attorney merely needs to prove an offender violated probation by a preponderance of evidence.
No Right to a Trial By Jury:
The Constitution of the United State and Article I, Section 22 of the State of Florida constitution guarantee the right to a trial by jury. However, offenders do not have a right to a trial by jury for violations of probation. That means the state attorney merely needs to convince a judge that an offender is guilty. The right to a jury trial for new crimes is a valuable right. In order to be found guilty of a jury in a criminal case, the state attorney must convince all the jurors to vote guilty. With just one vote of not guilty, you cannot be convicted of a crime. Not so with a violation of probation, where the criminal trial judge decides.
Florida Statutes Section 903.046 allows most people the right to a reasonable bond when accused of a crime, but that does not apply to violations of probation. When a person is charged with a violation of probation, bonds is the absolute discretion of the judge, and most judges will refuse any bond if the allegations are a new law offense.
The Constitution provides those accused of a crime the right against self incrimination. The becomes especially important when a person has reason to not want to take the stand. In violations of probation however, the prosecutor can call the offender to the stand and ask them questions and present unfavorable evidence through the offender.
Out of court statements used to prove the truth of the matter asserted are not normally admissible in court, though there are numerous exceptions. These statements are called hearsay and are generally not admissible because they are inherently untrustworthy. This includes written statements and reports of law enforcement and other witnesses. For example, an affidavit showing the results of a drug test would normally be hearsay and inadmissible. However, though a violation of probation cannot be based completely on hearsay, hearsay is admissible in an violation of probation to support other competent admissible evidence. See Johnson v. State, 962 So.2d 394, 396–97 (Fla. 2d DCA 2007).
Because the prosecutor does not have to prove the case beyond and reasonable doubt, there is no jury, there is no right to remain silent, the rules of evidence do not apply to the same extent, and the offender may already be in jail, the prosecutor has a lot of power in a violation of probation. This is why it is so important to have a defense attorney who understands the process, has relationships with the judges and prosecutors involved with the violation of probation, and can fight violations of probation in hearings if necessary. Many defense attorneys are intimidated by this process and encourage their clients to take please when there is more that could be done to get a better result.
For all these reasons, it is important to have an experienced violation of probation criminal defense attorney handle your matter. Call today for a free consultation.