As we discuss in the probation violation section of www.TampaCrimeAttorneys.com, alleged probation violations are no laughing matter. Every probationer should take every condition of probation very seriously. One screw up and the probationer is right back to looking at being sentenced to the statutory maximum for the underlying crime for which the person was placed on probation.
In most probation sentences, there is an educational or counseling component. Since the State and/or judge agreed that a prison sentence, or a longer prison sentence, was not warranted, they want to give the probationer the tools to avoid future criminal behavior. For example, in a battery case, it wouldn’t be uncommon to see the probationer ordered to complete some sort of anger management program. The theory is, “let’s see if we can help this person help themselves.”
With that said, some probationers may not feel like they need the ordered counseling or therapy. They may feel that they know how they screwed up and they know how not to make that mistake again. While this may be true, the probationer does still need to complete all the terms of his probation or risk being violated and sent back to jail or prison. As such, probationers should be diligent in completing their court-ordered counseling/therapy.
D.G. v. State of Florida
In D.G. v. State of Florida, D.G. allegedly violated his probation by failing to complete substance abuse and anger management counseling. He had previously been adjudicated delinquent and placed on probation for committing an attempted robbery. D.G. was allegedly kicked out of the programs for behavior issues.
Now, in order to have probation revoked for failing to complete a counseling program, the State must show that “the probationer deliberately and willfully violated one or more of its terms.” Thomas v. State, 672 So. 2d 587, 589 (Fla. 4th DCA 1996). Where, as here, revocation of probation is based on the failure to “successfully complete a designated rehabilitation program, some evidence must be submitted to show that the defendant was in some manner responsible for such failure.” Id. (quoting Miller v. State, 661 So. 2d 353, 354-55 (Fla. 4th DCA 1995)) (emphasis added); see also Rubio v. State, 824 So. 2d 1020, 1021-22 (Fla. 5th DCA 2002) (“In the context of a failure to complete a substance abuse program, the failure is a willful violation if the failure can be shown to be the fault of the probationer.”). “[F]or a probationer to be at fault or responsible for his dismissal [from a rehabilitation program], he must at least be informed that dismissal is a potential sanction for the behavior at issue.” Johnson v. State, 58 So. 3d 411, 412 (Fla. 1st DCA 2011).” D.G. v. State of Florida, 45 Fla. L. Weekly D896a (Fla. 3d DCA 2020).
The counselor for the programs testified at D.G.’s revocation hearing that she had warned D.G. that if his aggressive, disrespectful, and defiant behavior did not cease, D.G. would be removed from the programs. She further testified that his behavior did not change and that D.G. was kicked out of the programs. This caused his probation to be violated. Apparently, D.G. didn’t like being ordered to complete a program and make his displeasure abundantly clear to those managing the program.
The Court ruled that this was sufficient non-hearsay testimony to warrant the trial court finding a violation of probation. D.G.’s probation was revoked and he was sentenced to placement in a non-secure residential program. Because D.G. didn’t take his counseling seriously, he lost the freedom to be at his home and in the community. Now in a non-secure residential facility, he’ll most likely still have to complete the counseling; but now he won’t be able to sleep in his own bed while completing the conditions of his probation.
Call Your Violation of Probation Attorney Today
Board Certified Criminal Trial Law Attorney Adam L. Bantner, II has been helping those accused of violating their probation since 2007. His experience will help you, your family member, or your friend get the best result possible in their case. Call him today at 813.397.3965 to set up your free consultation!