Probation Violations in St. Petersburg

Legal Defense You Can Trust — Call (727) 491-5886

For most of his six years with the Pinellas County State Attorney's Office, Donald Kilfin was assigned to prosecute probation violations, in both misdemeanor and felony divisions. For the past several years, he has represented countless clients throughout the courtrooms of Tampa Bay in probation violation matters, both felony and misdemeanor. Mr. Kilfin's more than a decade of experience in handling these types of cases is of tremendous benefit to the clients he represents today.

Why hire The Kilfin Law Firm, P.C.? Consider the following:

  • We have almost 20 years of experience.
  • We have been recognized with numerous awards.
  • We have handled hundreds of cases.
  • We have experience as a former prosecutor.
  • We are highly rated in the legal community.

For free case evaluation, call (727) 491-5886 today.

Common Questions Regarding Probation Violation

  • What is probation?

Probation is an opportunity for the accused person to demonstrate to the court that he or she is capable of conforming his or her behavior to the requirements of the law. Probation involves the accused person reporting, once a month, to a probation officer to ensure that the terms and conditions of probation are being complied with, and that no new law violations have occurred.

Conditions that are imposed as part of a probationary sentence will often depend on the nature of the underlying offense. Some conditions are mandatory and some are discretionary. For example, in a DUI case, probation conditions must include the completion of DUI School, an alcohol evaluation (and treatment if recommended), and the payment of all applicable fines. In other types of cases, requiring an alcohol evaluation is purely discretionary: the court can require it or not.

  • Are there different types of probation?

Yes. In addition to "standard" probation, Florida recognizes "Administrative Probation", "Drug Offender Probation", "Sex Offender Probation" and "Community Control".

Administrative probation means "a form of supervision in which an offender who presents a low risk of harm to the community may, upon satisfactorily completing half the terms of probation, be transferred by the Florida Department of Corrections to non-reporting status until the expiration of the term of supervision".

Drug offender probation means "a form of intensive supervision that emphasizes treatment of drug offenders in accordance with individualized treatment plans administered by officers with restricted caseloads".

Sex offender probation means "a form of intensive supervision, with or without electronic monitoring, which emphasizes treatment and supervision of a sex offender in accordance with an individualized treatment plan administered by an officer who has a restricted caseload and specialized training. An officer who supervises an offender placed on sex offender probation or sex offender community control must meet as necessary with a treatment provider and polygraph examiner to develop and implement the supervision and treatment plan, if a treatment provider and polygraph examiner specially trained in the treatment and monitoring of sex offenders is reasonably available".

Community control means "a form intensive, supervised custody in the community, including surveillance on weekends and holidays, administered by officers with restricted caseloads. Community control is an individualized program in which the freedom of an offender is restricted within the community, home, or non-institutional residential placement and specific sanctions are imposed and enforced.

  • What is an evidentiary hearing?

Before a judge can impose any form of sanction for a purported violation of probation, certain due process requirements must be met. An evidentiary hearing is a proceeding before a judge wherein the judge hears testimony and considers other evidence to determine whether a probationer has violated his or her supervision willfully and substantially. The right to an evidentiary hearing belongs to the accused; he or she can choose to exercise this right or may, in the alternative, elect to admit the violation, without having a hearing. A person may elect to forgo the hearing if the prospect of prevailing is negligible and/or the person's attorney has negotiated a favorable resolution.

It is important to note that in a probation violation situation, the state's burden of proof is "by a preponderance of the evidence" as opposed to "beyond a reasonable doubt". The former burden is much lesser than the latter; if the state proves it is more likely than not that the probationer has committed a violation, the judge has the authority to revoke probation impose any sentence the judge could have imposed at the time the original plea was entered.

  • How are probation violations prosecuted?

If a probation officer has reason to believe that a probationer has violated the terms and conditions of his or her supervision, the officer can arrest the person on sight, or can seek a warrant. In misdemeanor cases, the probationer receives a notice to appear in court from the clerk (as opposed having a warrant issued).

If a police officer arrests a person for a new offense, and is aware that the person is on probation, the police officer can violate that person's probation and take him or her into custody on the violation as well as the new charge. This is known as a "cop VOP".

The pleading used to initiate court proceedings is called a "Probation Violation Affidavit" or "Affidavit of Violation". If the probationer is a violent felony offender of special concern, this will usually be indicated on the face of the affidavit in bold type. Once the judge reviews the legal sufficiency of the affidavit, he or she will sign a warrant (in felony cases). There is usually no bond set in a felony VOP situation.

Once taken into custody, the case is set for a VOP arraignment/pre-trial hearing. Unless the probationer is a violent felony offender of special concern, the person's attorney can request a hearing to set bond, or to resolve the violation prior to the arraignment. As indicated above, if the person is designated a violent felony offender of special concern, no action can be taken to secure the person's release or resolve the matter until a dangerousness hearing is conducted.

At a hearing to resolve the violation, the court can revoke probation, modify the terms and condition of probation, or continue the person on probation, once the person has either admitted the violation, or been found guilty after an evidentiary hearing.

Often times, there is much that can be done to mitigate the impact of a probation violation. It usually requires the client getting current on all outstanding obligations, including financial obligations, and effective negotiations on the part of his or her attorney. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side, and particularly one who has handled probation violations for nearly fifteen years on both sides of the courtroom, can make a marked difference in the outcome of your case. If you have a pending probation violation in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, New Port Richey, Dade City, or Bradenton, contact The Kilfin Law Firm, P.C. Your initial consultation with Attorney Donald J. Kilfin is always free of charge.

At The Kilfin Law Firm, P.C., we are aware that no two cases are ever the same, which is why we develop an individualized strategy that can help you obtain the resolution you are seeking. We have nearly 20 years of experience handling complex cases, and we are dedicated to providing effective advocacy for our clientele. To learn more about your case, or how The Kilfin Law Firm, P.C. can help protect your rights, schedule a free initial consultation with our firm right away.

Contact our St. Petersburg office to get started!