Probation in Florida is a form of supervised release that gives judges an alternative to incarceration for offenders who do not pose a threat to the community. It can be ordered instead of or in addition to jail time in misdemeanor or felony cases, but judges cannot sentence individuals convicted of capital felonies like murder to probation. Judges have discretion when deciding whether or not probation is appropriate, and they tend to favor supervised release when offenders have not been in trouble with the law before or are convicted of relatively minor offenses.
Types of probation in Florida
There are several types of probation in Florida, and judges decide the appropriate form of supervised release based on the crime the offender has been convicted of and their previous behavior. The types of probation are:
• Administrative probation. This is the most lenient type of probation. Offenders placed on administrative probation must abide by the terms of their supervised release, but they are not required to meet regularly with a probation officer.
• Standard probation. This is the most common type of probation in Florida. Offenders on standard probation must attend scheduled meeting with their probation officers. Standard probation may be reduced to administrative probation if the offender attends these meetings and stays out of trouble.
• Drug treatment probation. This type of probation is ordered when offenders have substance abuse problems. Offenders sentenced to drug treatment probation must attend an authorized addiction program and submit to regular drug tests.
• Sex offender probation. This type of probation is reserved for offenders who have been convicted of sex offenses. It adds treatment and closer supervision to the standard conditions of probation.
• House arrest. This form of probation is also called community control in Florida. Individuals subject to house arrest are not able to move freely and must wear monitoring equipment.
An offender who is placed on probation can be sent to jail if they miss meetings with their probation officer, commit further crimes, test positive for drugs or otherwise fail to meet the terms of their probation. Before this happens, a criminal law judge will determine whether the violation was willful and warrants incarceration.
If you face criminal charges in Florida and the evidence against you is likely to lead to a conviction, an experienced criminal defense attorney could bring up alternatives to incarceration like probation or community service during plea negotiations. While judges make final sentencing decisions, they generally follow the recommendations of prosecutors and honor the terms of plea agreements.