• What is Probation?
  • April 22, 2013
  • Law Firm: Blumenauer - Tampa Office
  • Often time for many people unfamiliar with the criminal justice system have heard the term “probation” before, but are totally unaware of what it exactly means.  Ultimately, a probation sentence is generally included in the majority of cases for individuals with a limited criminal history. 


    First and foremost, probation is very difficult.  It requires one to have a very flexible work schedule, free time to complete classes, community services and regular court appearances and lots of money.  As to the flexible work schedule, probation requires individuals to report regularly to a probation officer, more commonly known as a “PO”, for appointments.  Additionally, probation requires a tremendous amount of free time to complete the many different requirements.  Some of the more common requirements for probation include anti-shoplifting classes, drug abuse classes, financial responsibility classes, drug testing, required restitution payments and either Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous classes. 


    Misdemeanor probation is supervised or monitored by varying organizations.  For example, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties utilize the Salvation Army to monitor misdemeanor probation.  Felony probation is monitored by the Florida Department of Corrections.  Generally, misdemeanor probation officers are less restrictive than felony probation officers.  Felony probation officers will routinely visit an individual's residence often unannounced. 


    Most importantly, if you fail to complete or breach any of the conditions of your probation, you violate your probation.  A sworn affidavit will be prepared and filed by your probation officer.  The affidavit will include information concerning the alleged violation and refer to the specific condition violated.  We discuss violations of probations or VOPs elsewhere in our blog, but ultimately VOPs are very important because the individual’s exposure to jail or prison are for the maximum sentence of the underlying charge.  For instance, if someone faced five (5) years in prison on a third degree felony and were sentenced eighteen months felony probation.  If the person violates their probation, they face a maximum of five (5) years in prison.  Ultimately, you will have the opportunity to either admit or deny the violation.  If the violation of probation is denied, the Judge will schedule an evidentiary hearing, which is similar to a miniature trial.  We discuss evidentiary hearings elsewhere on our blog. 


    If you or someone you know have questions about probation, contact the Clearwater criminal defense attorneys of Blumenauer Hackworth.  We have experience concerning both misdemeanor and felony probation, violations of probation, VOPs and evidentiary hearings.