Why is My Probation So Long?

Aiken and O’Halloran of SW Florida
Ft Myers

Ft Myers 239-334-8890               Sarasota 941-3663506

Why is My Probation So Long?

March 2015

Many people receive long probation sentences in both State and Federal courts.  Even if they receive a jail sentence, it is often followed with a long probationary period.  This is particularly true if you are convicted of a Florida sex offense.  Why do people get probation ? The Courts often feel they are giving you a break by imposing probation.  For some people, probation is a trap.  For sex offenders, sex offender probation often imposes conditions that make it impossible to live a halfway normal life.  Sex offender probation restricts where you can live, where you can work, where you can go and what you can do.  In Miami, hundreds of sex offenders are now homeless because of the residency restrictions.  On the other hand, probation is a lot better than being in State prison.

The Florida sentencing guidelines give the judges a lot of discretion in imposing sentences.  What is a sentencing guideline? What is a score sheet and how does it affect my sentencing? If the crime is theft, embezzlement or elder fraud, the courts often impose probation to force the person to pay restitution.  If a person has a drug problem, probation is a means of forcing them to get treatment.  Our criminal defense firm routinely handles probation violation hearings Ft. Myers, Sarasota and Punta Gorda.  More people are arrested for a probation violation than any other reason.  As criminal defense lawyers we hold the State attorney to their burden to establish that the violation was both willful and substantial.  Simply not paying court costs or restitution is not enough to put you in jail.  Many times there are valid reasons to miss an appointment and often, a dirty urine can result from something as simple as eating a poppy seed bagel.

If you or a loved one suffers a violation, contact us immediately for a free consultation.  The public defender is overworked and under staffed and if you want your case to receive personal attention, call us today.  In Ft. Myers, call 239 334 8890.  In Sarasota, call 941 366 3506

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