Arrests due to violations on probation are much different from being held due to a new crime. For a start, it’s easier for the court to pool evidence for probation violations than a new crime. Besides, there’s already evidence of the inability to honor a court order. And this might compel the court to impose a higher bail bond amount or refuse the opportunity altogether.
As with other cases, the holding period depends on the nature and severity of the offense. Some VOP cases qualify for bail, but others don’t. And in this post, we’ll walk you through the process of posting a bond after a VOP.
What is a VOP Case?
A VOP or violation of probation happens when an accused or convicted person applied for and was granted probation, but broke the conditions of the parole agreement. Laws governing probation violations vary from state to state. Judges and probation officers may also set different guidelines depending on the severity of the infraction.
Types of VOP
A violation occurs when a person fails to observe or ignores the condition of the parole conditions. Some people even violate their probation even without intending to do so. In Florida, there are 2 types of VOPs – technical and substantive VOP.
1. Technical VOP
This refers to any violation against a special or general condition of the probation. The following are some examples of a technical VOP:
Positive alcohol or drug test result
Failure to report a change in address
Failure to attend meetings, counseling sessions
Connecting with a person involved in criminal activities
Failure to submit drug test results
Inability to meet a set monthly quota or probation requirements (e.g., court cost, community service hours, making settlement payments)
Traveling outside the county or internationally without permission
Failure to stay in touch with the probation officer at a set place or time
Possessing, selling, or using illegal drugs
2. Substantive VOP
On the other hand, a substantive VOP occurs when a person commits a new crime during the parole period. For example, people on probation for burglary and grand theft commit a substantive VOP if they’re caught shoplifting or carjacking. The new offense entails an entirely new charge. And they could be given harsher penalties for their initial crime, lose their initial probation, or be required to render jail time.
Penalties for VOP
Penalties for violations of probation vary depending on the severity or nature of the offense. But there are three main consequences for this offense – revocation, reinstatement, or modification of parole conditions.
Reinstate Probation – This is an uncommon way of resolving VOP cases. With this order, the judge or court just warms and admonishes the offender and simply continues to impose the parole term.
Probation Modification – This involves changes to the parole conditions, which can be in the form of extension of the probation period or addition of new conditions. This is usually granted to non-violent, minor, or first-time offenders.
Revoke Probation – This is the most common penalty and is commonly given to violent or serious offenses. Plus, if the court discovers that the offender can be considered as a danger to the community, the probationer could be given an incarcerative sanction, as per the Violent Felony Offender of Special Concern section in Florida law.
How Long Can You Be Held Without a Bond After a VOP?
Defendants can stay in jail for days or weeks while waiting for the VOP hearing. And that’s because VOPs are far more difficult to file for a bond than a new case. You need a highly aggressive and effective attorney to represent you in court. And in some cases, there won’t be any opportunity to post bail.
Why is it Difficult?
Unlike a new case, posting a bond for a probation violation is like going against the current of the water as there is already existing evidence about your legal and illegal activities. For new cases, the court is required to fulfill the much higher standard of disproving that the defendant is “innocent unless proven guilty.” But for VOP cases, the court might only need to meet the much lower and easier preponderance of evidence standard.
You might also need to take note of the following if you have a VOP:
You don’t have as much rights as a person charged with a new case.
You might be required to be a witness against yourself.
VOP offenders might not be given the same level of jury trial rights as a defendant of a new crime.
Not all VOP bond applications are granted.
There’s no statute of limitations.
There’s one silver lining, though, when it comes to braving the difficulties of posting a bond for VOP. Infraction penalties won’t be upheld if the probationers can prove that their non-compliance is due to something that’s out of their control (e.g., medical emergencies), instead of deliberate disobedience or misconduct.
What Should You Do If You or a Loved One Committed a VOP?
As you would with any other legal infractions, it’s extremely important to contact a reliable attorney to help you get through the situation. If you’re in Florida, you might like to consider the legal services of Attorney Tom McGuire and his team at Panhandle Defense Firm. Attorney Tom has a total of 35 years of experience in legal practice, which might be a great help in resolving your case.