If you were facing serious charges in Florida, being placed on probation instead of having to serve jail or prison time, was probably a big relief for you. However, over time, being on probation and having to complete the conditions of probation and abide by certain restrictions, such as not being able to leave the county where you live or having to continuously pay money for cost of supervision of probation along with court costs and possibly court fines, has become a big problem.
Based on Florida Statute 948.03, the court can and often times will impose certain conditions of probation: including but not limited to:
Report to the probation officer on a regular basis
Pay all costs
Maintain gainful employment
Not to associate with certain people or stay away from certain places
Do not possess any firearms or weapons
Do not consume illegal drugs
Submit to random testing
Submit to warrantless searches.
Probation officers have a lot of discretion when it comes to handling their cases. Some probation officers, may file for a violation and push for incarceration even for the slightest violations, while others may be more helpful in trying to help their probationers successfully complete probation. If you are having a hard time being able to abide by all of the terms of your probation, possibly due to a change in circumstances, do not wait until your probation officer violates you, instead ask for a modification of probation.
The ability to modify probation, allows the judge the opportunity to amend or change certain terms of your probation if the judge decides that the change of terms is warranted based on the circumstances. If, for example, you are unable to pay for all of your court costs or cost of
supervision because you recently lost your job, you can ask the court to give you more time to pay the fees or even waive certain fees so that you will no longer be obligated to pay the fees. If you have found a job outside the county of your residence and a condition of your probation is that you not leave the county, you can ask the court to modify probation to allow you to
leave the county for work purposes. There are many reasons and circumstances that may require a modification of probation so you can successfully complete probation. The key is to ask for modification of probation before you violate probation and your probation officer files a warrant for your arrest. Therefore, it is important to hire a knowledgable Tampa modification of probation attorney before it is too late. Kerstin Wade has handled many motions for modification of probation in misdemeanor and felony cases alike. If your probation has already been violated, Kerstin Wade also handles violation of probation or violation of community control cases.
If you are on community control and have unforeseen circumstances, you are able to ask for a modification of your community control. For example, if you are on community control with electronic monitoring and are unable to pay for the costs of the electronic monitor, you are able to ask the court to modify your community to either eliminate the monitor or waive the cost of the monitor. The court is under no obligation to grant your request to modify community control or probation. That is why it is best to have the assistance of an experienced attorney to help you with your motion to modify community control.
If you have completed half of your probation term and have had no violations, you have another way to ease the burden of being on probation through early termination. A motion to terminate probation early is basically a way to reduce the time you are on probation. Florida Statute 948.04 states that if you were sentenced after October 1st 2019, you may even be entitled to either have your probation terminated early or converted to administrative probation (non-reporting probation) under the following circumstances:
• You have completed at least half of your probation term
• You have completed all special terms and conditions of probation
• You have not been found to be in violation of probation
• The original negotiated plea did not prohibit early termination
• You are not a violent felony offender of special concern
The statute does allow the court to decline a motion for early termination if the court makes a written finding that continued reporting probation is necessary.
A motion to modify probation, does not have to take long at all. Kerstin Wade will talk to you and advise you of your possible chances and your eligibility to have probation terminated early. If you are eligible, she will file the motion immediately upon being retained and send it to the state, probation as well as the court. Some judge’s may grant the motion in chambers without requiring a hearing and some judges may require a hearing. If no hearing is required, the motion can be done within a week or less and if a hearing is required it will depend on the judge’s schedule but will most likely be done within 1 week to 1 month.
If you are on community control, you may qualify to have the remainder of your community control term either terminated early or rolled over to probation after completing half of the term. If your community control is followed by probation, the term will usually roll over the remainder of your term to probation. If you want to then terminate your subsequent probationary term early, you can do so usually after completing half the time on probation. The time you were on community control does not count toward the time on probation. This means that if you were sentenced to 1 year community control followed by 2 years of probation, you will not be able to
terminate your 2 year probation term before completing 1 year on probation, not including the prior 1 year of community control.
Generally, there is no requirement that you are represented by an attorney for a motion for early termination. However, an attorney can be very helpful and ensure you have the best chance in getting your motion granted. An attorney can contact your probation officer to make sure that your probation officer will not object and to make sure that your probation officer will confirm that you have completed all necessary conditions. If there are any outstanding conditions, your attorney can work with you and your probation officer to make sure any of those issues are solved before the motion for early termination of probation or community control. Your attorney will also stand beside you in court and speak to the judge on your behalf. Kerstin Wade has represented countless clients on their motions for early termination or modification of probation. She has an office in downtown Tampa, not far from the Tampa courthouse. Kerstin Wade handles cases in all of Hillsborough County, Polk County and Pinellas County. Contact Kerstin Wade today at 813-401-0130 for a free consultation to see how she can help you.