If you are facing a Violation of Probation (VOP) or Violation of Community Controls (VOCC) in Okaloosa County or Walton County, these are the steps you should be taking.
- Keep reporting to your probation officer and try to complete your requirements.
Don’t run away or abscond from your probation, but make a concerted effort to get your special conditions up to date. Your attorney may have had a viable defense to your VOP charge! Absconding looks terrible to a judge and you will likely receive a harsher sentence if you leave.
- If possible, hire a VOP defense attorney before the arrest warrant becomes active.
Here’s what an experienced VOP or VOCC attorney will do:
- A VOP defense attorney can advise you on how to minimize your chance of being violated through immediate intervention with probation and parole authorities. Your lawyer should also monitor your case status with probation and do warrant checks with law enforcement.
- If your probation officer knows you have an attorney and that he is prepared to fight in your defense, they may give more scrutiny to the warrant application process instead of just sending it straight to the judge. This may give you more time to finish your requirements.
- Your criminal defense attorney should also work to obtain a bond prior to the VOP arrest. In cases where the VOP warrant is already active, it is also important to facilitate the client turning themselves in—instead of being picked up by law enforcement. Your criminal defense attorney can also advise you when it would be the proper time to turn yourself in–if you are required to be held until first appearance. Too early-and you get to spend unnecessary time in the jail waiting. Too late-and you miss the cutoff for the next first appearance hearing and you will spend an additional day in jail!
- Pre-planning can make a difference in the result of your case because it shows the judge that you are not running from your violation, but taking proactive steps to face and deal with the situation.
- Your attorney must attend the first appearance hearing and be prepared to make a probable cause challenge for the arrest and argue for a reasonable bond.
Going the extra mile for the client matters! It’s what separates the great criminal defense attorneys from the marginal attorneys.
Your attorney should demand discovery evidence on the violation and work to establish a defense to your alleged violation. It is the prosecutor’s burden to prove by a preponderance of evidence that the violation must be intentional, willful, and substantial in nature. A speculative, frivolous, or unintentional violation is not legally sufficient to justify the VOP!
If you need help with a VOP or VOCC in either Okaloosa County or Walton County, give me a call at (850) 362-6655 for a free consultation and let’s find out what you’re up against.