Agreeing to enter a term of probation is a popular way to resolve minor criminal cases. The agreement typically requires the offender to stay out of trouble, and to check in with a probation officer every so often. These requirements sound easy enough, but a large percentage of persons serving probation find ways to get in trouble again, which means revocation of probation and new criminal charges being filed. In some cases the violation is clear, and in others the violation is harder to detect. Committing a new crime is an actual violation of probation, but seemingly harmless things like missing a call from your probation officer are also considered violations and can land you in hot water. Missing a call or failing to make an appointment are classified as technical violations, and can result in the revocation of probation. In order to make sure you are successful on your term, a clear understanding of the do’s and don’ts is required. Any misstep would mean your probation is revoked, and if the cause is a new crime it seems pretty cut and dried, right? Well….maybe.

A recent case shows just how hard it is for the state to prove even an actual violation. In Vidale v State, the prosecution was unable to show that the defendant had committed a new crime, and the matter is being sent back to the trial court for further review. The basic facts are:

  • Vidale was serving probation for a two year period when he was arrested on marijuana and burglary charges.
  • The arresting officer gave testimony as to what the neighbor of the burglarized home said, the neighbor did not actually take the stand and recount the events for the Court.
  • Very little other evidence was provided, other than what the neighbor said.

The Court ruled that the statements by the neighbor, by themselves, were insufficient to find the defendant participated in the burglary. This case is a good example of what must be provided in order to show a new crime has been committed, at least to the level of revoking an accused’s probation. If you have questions about probation, or have been charged with a violation of probation, call our office today. We have skilled probation violation attorneys on staff that can help you.

If you have questions about probation and probation violations, call our office for answers. Schedule an appointment with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. Your first visit is a free initial consultation.