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What is a Violation of Probation (VOP)?

Posted in Blog on February 10th, 2014

What is a Violation of Probation (VOP)?

A violation of probation occurs when the accused that has been previously placed on probation has violated the terms of that probation.  There are generally two types of violations that can occur.

1.         The first is a new law allegation.  This is when the person who is on probation is alleged to commit a new crime.  In these cases the accused essentially has two cases.  The first case is the new criminal charge and the second case is the violation of probation where the new charge is an allegation.

2.         The second type of violation is a technical violation.  This is when the person who is on probation violates one of the rules of probation.  Some examples of technical violations are: testing positive for drugs (dirty urine), absconding, failing to notify probation of an address change, failure to complete community service, failing to pay court costs and etc.

VOP cases are unique in that they are not new criminal offenses, but rather a continuation of the original criminal case. The accused is not entitled to a trial by jury as in criminal cases but rather a trial by judge.  Another distinction is that the burden of proof is different from a regular criminal charge.  In VOP’s the state only need to prove that there was a willful and substantial violation of the accused probation by the preponderance of the evidence.  In easier terms, that mean more likely than not, or think 51%.  Additionally, the accused is not entitled to a bond on a violation of probation and often times are held in custody until the end of their case.

If the accused is found to be in violation of their probation, the court can sentence the probationer to any sentence that was legal at the time of the original sentencing.

For more information on Violations of Probation contact Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney David J. Sobel at 954-383-3000.