Switch to ADA Accessible Website
Orlando Criminal Lawyer

When Is A Probation Violation Considered “Willful And Substantial” Under Florida Law?

GPS

A person placed on probation in Florida faces many challenges. The court requires any probationer to comply with a number of terms and conditions. If a probation officer or any member of law enforcement has reason to believe the probationer has violated these terms, that person may be hauled before a judge to explain themselves. And if the judge ultimately determines the probationer committed a “willful and substantial” violation, the court may send the probationer to jail.

Florida Appeals Court: No Evidence Probationer Deliberately Lost GPS Tracking Unit

At the same time, it is important to remember that the prosecution must prove the probationer’s actions were “willful” and not merely accidental or the result of circumstances beyond the probationer’s control. If the probationer can show they made a “reasonable, good faith attempt to comply” with their probation requirements, that is sufficient to avoid any more serious sanctions.

A recent decision from the Florida Second District Court of Appeals, Douglas v. State, provides a helpful illustration. In this case, the probationer pleaded guilty to a prior charge of failing to register as a sex offender. Under an agreement with the State’s Attorney’s office, the court sentenced the probationer to several years of probation.

In 2020, prosecutors filed an affidavit alleging the probationer violated the terms of his probation by losing a GPS unit that he was required to keep with him for monitoring purposes. According to the probationer, the loss of the unit was unintentional. When the GPS monitoring company contacted him and informed him it was no longer receiving data, the probationer said he notified local law enforcement and “searched for the GPS unit in multiple places” without success. In response, the prosecution pointed to alleged inconsistencies in the probationer’s testimony and insisted this was a case of willful and substantial violation. The judge agreed and sentenced the probationer to 364 days in jail.

The appellate court, however, said the evidence presented before the trial court contained “no evidence” that the probationer “willfully acted in a manner to cause the loss of the GPS unit.” Put another way, the prosecution failed to prove that the probationer deliberately lost his GPS unit. Absent such proof, the Second District said there were no grounds for modifying the terms of probation or sending the probationer to jail. The appellate court therefore reinstated the original terms of probation.

Contact Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney Jose Baez Today

Prosecutors are often quick to try and violate a criminal defendant’s probation, especially if they are on probation for a sexually based offense or other serious felony. That is why even after the trial ends you may still need the services of a qualified Orlando sex crimes lawyer. Contact the Baez Law Firm today to schedule a consultation with a member of our criminal defense team.

Source:

scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=13610057258215417711

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
Miami

Miami Office

1200 Brickell Avenue, Suite 1410
Miami, FL 33131
Office: 305-999-5100
Fax: 305-999-5111
Orlando

Orlando Office

250 N Orange Ave, Suite 750
Orlando, FL 32801
Office: 407-705-2626
Fax: 407-705-2625

Email Us

Fields Marked * Are required

DISCLAIMER: Completing and submitting this form or otherwise merely contacting The Baez Law Firm or any individual at the firm will not establish an attorney/client relationship. Our firm cannot represent you until we determine that there would be no conflict of interest and that we are otherwise able to accept representation of your case. Please do not send any information or documents until a formal attorney/client relationship has been established through an interview with an attorney and you have been given authorization in the form of an engagement letter with The Baez Law Firm. Any information or documents sent via this form or otherwise prior to your receipt of an engagement letter will not be treated as confidences, secrets, or protected information of any nature. Submitting information regarding your potential case will not bar The Baez Law Firm from representing or continuing to represent a person or entity whose interest are adverse to your in condition with your case.

protected by reCAPTCHA Privacy - Terms
Please review the highlighted fields. They are required.
DISCLAIMER: This website contains information about The Baez Law Firm that includes testimonial statements from persons who are familiar with the firm's services. The testimonials shown are not necessarily representative of every person's experience with us. Testimonials from every client are not provided. As no two situations or persons are identical, the facts and circumstances of your situation may differ from those for which testimonials are shown. This website also includes information about some of the past results that we have obtained for our clients. Not all results are provided, and the results shown are not necessarily representative of all results obtained by us. No two situation are exactly alike; every person's situation is unique and the outcome for each person depends on the individual facts.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
MileMark Media - Practice Growth Solutions

© 2015 - 2022 Baez Law Firm. All rights reserved.
This law firm website and legal marketing are managed by MileMark Media.

Contact Form Tab Contact Form Tab