Florida law defines the term “probation” as a type of community supervision, or an alternative to imprisonment, which involves a requirement that the person complete certain requirements imposed by the court as well as attend regular meetings with a probation officer.
The court may assign someone to probation or community control in Florida, instead of imprisonment, at the court’s discretion when the person has been found guilty or entered a plea to a non-felony offense. Also, the court may assign felony offenders who have been found guilty or plead to a crime to probation or community control. Offenses that are capital felonies do not qualify for probation or community control.
The courts in Orlando, Orange County, Florida often consider violations of probation to be severe, and can revoke or modify the terms of your probation if the requirements are not followed exactly. Probation violations can be considered “technical” or “substantive.” For many VOP cases, the person accused should hire an attorney experienced in fighting probation violation cases in Orlando, FL. Although the court can impose up to the statutory maximum term of jail or prison for that offense, the court can also decide to keep the terms of your probation the same and simply reinstate the probation giving the person another chance to complete all the conditions.
Early Termination of Probation
Some criminal offenders are released from imprisonment early on probation or are granted probation as a part of their sentence. These offenders may want to terminate their probation early for a number of reasons. Any ex-offender can be granted an early termination of probation as long as they follow a required procedure and meet certain eligibility requirements.
There are a variety of benefits for terminating probation early, including the offender will no longer be required to attend classes, pay monthly supervision fees, submit to random drug or alcohol classes, and will be permitted to leave the city or state.
Even if you believe you are not eligible for early termination of probation because your sentencing judge stated you were not eligible, the offender may still be allowed to terminate their probation early. Under Florida law, anyone can petition for early termination of probation, regardless of whether the judge said at the sentencing for the underlying offense you were not eligible for early termination of probation. According to Florida Statutes § 984.05, the court is permitted to terminate probation at any time for any reason.
If someone who is on probation has met the eligibility requirements by completing at least half of their probation sentence, and the other requirements as set forth in the Order of Probation, they will have to file a Motion to Terminate Probation Early in order to apply for early termination of probation. Your attorney will be able to file this motion on your behalf.
The Motion to Terminate Probation Early includes the person on probation’s name, case number, and the division where the probationer’s underlying offense was sentenced. Attached to the motion will be a Proposed Order for the judge to sign if the Motion to Terminate Probation Early request is granted.
The Motion to Terminate Probation Early is filed with the clerk’s office, and a copy is required to be sent to the state attorney’s office and the offender’s probation officer. After your attorney has filed the motion, the clerk will set a hearing date. After the hearing date has been set, a Notice of Hearing has to be filed and served on the state’s attorney’s office and the offender’s probation officer.
Because this process can be difficult and there are a number of requirements, an experienced attorney will be able to make sure the probationer’s paperwork has been completely filled out, everything has been properly filed and served on the correct people, and will make every effort to hold your hearing to terminate probation as early as possible. An attorney can also help an offender make sure they have completed all probation requirements and talk to the offender’s probation officer to make sure they will give a favorable recommendation for the offender.
Seal or Expunge your Florida Criminal Record
If your criminal history has prevented you from pursuing certain employment or education opportunities, or if you have committed certain criminal offenses in your past and do not want others to know you have a criminal record, then you may want to have your criminal record sealed or expunged.
Sealing or expunging your criminal record will give you the chance to have a clean slate and pursue certain opportunities you may have missed out on. However, the process to seal or expunge a criminal record has many requirements, and it may be difficult to navigate through the court system without someone who has knowledge about how to seal and expunge a criminal record.
Procedure to Seal or Expunge Your Criminal Record in Florida
If someone is eligible to seal or expunge their criminal record, they have to follow specific instructions as set forth in Florida’s Statutes. First, someone who is eligible to have their record sealed or expunged is required submit an application to Florida Department of Law Enforcement for a Certificate of Eligibility. The application must be filled out and signed in front of a notary public. The applicant must be fingerprinted by authorized law enforcement personnel, pay a $75 fee, and must present a certified disposition of the case or certified letter of completion that resulted in the criminal record.
After receiving a Certificate of Eligibility, the applicant has to file a petition with the court to have their criminal record sealed or expunged. The petition must include the Certificate of Eligibility, the applicant’s sworn statement that they were not adjudicated guilty or found delinquent for certain offenses, never had a prior record sealed or expunged in Florida or any other state, and that they are eligible for sealing or expunging their record to the best of their knowledge.
Once the petition has been filed with the court, the court will make a ruling whether to grant relief or not. If the court permits your record to be sealed or expunged, the order will be forwarded to the appropriate parties and authorities that the record has been sealed or expunged.
You may be eligible to seal or expunge your criminal record if you meet the following requirements:
You have not previously been convicted of more than one misdemeanor, felony or criminal ordinance violation in any jurisdiction in the United States;
As a juvenile, you were not declared delinquent or adjudicated “delinquent” of certain criminal charges as set forth in Florida’s Statutes;
You have not previously sealed or expunged a criminal record in any jurisdiction; and
Are currently not under a court ordered supervision or diversion program.
Seal or Expunge a Juvenile Record
Juvenile records are typically expunged once the juvenile offender turns 24 years old. There are exceptions. For example, if an offender is over the 17 and commits a forcible felony, their juvenile record will be merged with their adult record. Also, someone who is a Habitual Juvenile Offender will not have their record sealed or expunged until they are 26 years old. Finally, if a juvenile offender is adjudged delinquent for any offense, their record will never be eligible for sealing or expungement, and it will merge with their adult record.
It is important to seek the advice of an attorney who is experienced in expunging or sealing criminal records in order to find out if your particular situation meets the eligibility requirements.
The attorneys at Hale, Hale & Jacobson, P.A. can help you find out if you’re eligible for early termination of probation and/ or sealing or expungement of your criminal record in Orlando, Florida, and will advise you through the process. Call the law offices of Hale, Hale & Jacobson at (407) 425-4640 for a consultation today.