Probation Violations: Technical vs. Substantive

Criminal Lawyer Representing People in the St. Petersburg Area

Often, probation is imposed as part of a sentence for a crime, substituting for a prison term. Probation should be taken very seriously, and you will need to follow many rules and conditions to stay on probation, rather than go to prison. There are two types of probation violations: technical violations and substantive violations. Understanding the difference between them is helpful in fighting any criminal charges arising out of a violation. St. Petersburg probation violation attorney Will Hanlon can explain the difference and fight for your rights in a probation violation proceeding based on a sex crime or any other offense.

Probation Violations: Technical vs. Substantive

Probation or community control is a kind of intensive supervised custody that can include surveillance. It is usually an individual program that restricts your freedom within the community. Certain terms and conditions are imposed and enforced in connection with probation.

Substantive violations occur if you commit a new crime during the probation period. A substantive violation is something more than a breach of a probation condition that is a byproduct of the original offense. A substantive violation is a separate act that involves committing a separate criminal offense. Case law has found that a youthful offender who drove with a suspended license had committed a substantive violation of probation. Similarly, a youthful offender who was found guilty of grand theft and burglary during probation had committed a substantive violation of probation. For another example, if you are caught committing shoplifting while on probation for carjacking or another theft offense, this would be a substantive violation.

A substantive violation would entail being charged with a new crime. This means that you would face a whole new criminal proceeding in which the prosecutor would need to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Moreover, you would likely also face harsher penalties for the initial crime. You might lose your initial probation and need to serve the time in prison instead.

Technical violations occur when there is no crime or arrest during the probation, but there was a failure to follow the rules and conditions of probation. Probation can involve many different rules, including a curfew, meeting with a probation officer, keeping a job, enrolling in school, not using or owning firearms, taking classes, undergoing drug or alcohol tests, and more. Judges impose those conditions as part of your case. If you have failed to meet your curfew, and a curfew was imposed as a condition of probation, for example, this would be a technical violation.

A penalty can be imposed for a technical violation. It is unlikely, if you have a single technical violation, that you would be forced to serve your prison time, as you might if you have a substantive probation violation. However, even though it typically is not as serious as a substantive violation, it is important to retain a St. Petersburg criminal attorney and ensure that you have a strong defense because different judges will handle technical violations differently.

Generally, when the court decides that you committed a technical probation violation, it is likely to modify the probation, reinstate the probation, or revoke the probation. If probation is revoked, you will be incarcerated. When there is a revocation, you can be sentenced to the maximum time in prison to which you could have initially been sentenced. For example, if you were incarcerated for a year and then put on probation for a drug crime, but you could have faced five years in prison, and then you commit a technical violation, the judge can put you in prison for the maximum five years that you could initially have faced. In one Florida case, the court found that a youthful offender who did not pay supervision costs, did not report to a probation officer, and did not try to seek a GED had committed the sorts of technical violations that required him to serve the maximum sentence of six years that he had initially faced.

Hire an Aggressive Probation Violation Attorney in St. Petersburg

The difference between technical and substantive probation violations can have an effect on your ability to stay out of jail. Representation by an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can make a huge difference to the potential for incarceration. Our founder, Will Hanlon, is dedicated to defending the rights of the accused. He has represented criminal defendants in St. Petersburg since 1994 and is well versed in all criminal defense strategies. You can call Hanlon Law at 727-897-5413 or complete our online form.

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As a practicing attorney, I was shocked to hear that a family member of mine was alleged to have committed a sex crime. Knowing full well the consequences this type of allegation can have on anyone and their future, I immediately reached out to William Hanlon for help. I had every confidence that Mr. Hanlon had the knowledge, expertise, and experience to handle this problem. Approximately 4 weeks from an initial conference with Mr. Hanlon, we received a call with the news that a letter of release was being issued and the case was being dropped. Now my family member can finally exhale, take a deep breath, and go on with his life. Thank you, William!
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I was facing a charge that if convicted would carry two years in prison minimally. Not only was he empathetic and listening to what I had to say but he arranged with the prosecutor for my charges not to be filed under terms of a pre trial investigation. Would highly recommend. Alec
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