If you have been placed on probation then you know that there are certain things you can do and certain things that are prohibited. You probably also know that if you do something that is prohibited you can be charged with violating your probation. A probation violation or VOP is a new charge that you have to defend, and with every violation comes the risk that your supervision will be revoked. All of this is should sound familiar if you have been arrested and negotiated a plea that included a term of probation. But there are also some things about probation that are not as obvious, but just as important.
Five things you might not know about probation, but should if you are considering agreeing to a term, are:
- You might be subject to a random drug test, even if you were not arrested on a drug charge initially.
- If you have been ordered not to “associate” with someone who is engaging in criminal activity, which might extend to minor violations. It is clear that you should stay away from hanging out with people who are dealing drugs or committing armed robbery, but what happens if you are out with a friend who gets arrested for public intoxication? That might be considered “associating with someone engaged in unlawful activity”.
- Not all scientific proof has to be supported by an actual scientist. So, if you fail a one of the random drug tests mentioned above, don’t expect to get an opportunity to cross examine someone with scientific knowledge about the test itself.
- Staying out past curfew can be a violation, and as easy as it is to lose track of time, this is a pretty common violation but one that gets little attention.
- If you are caught committing a new crime, it might not be the best idea to enter a plea to that charge because doing so might be used as evidence in the case against you for VOP. You have to be very careful about how you respond to violation charges, or you risk digging a deeper hole.
The idea of going on probation sounds easy enough, but the little nuances described above show some of the complexities that must be considered first. If you have questions about probation or have been charged with a violation of probation, call us for help.
For more information about probation and VOP, call us today to schedule an appointment. One of our experienced criminal defense attorneys in Stuart and the Treasure Coast is here to help you and your first visit is a free initial consultation.