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Do I Need A Lawyer If I Violated Pre-Trial Diversion Or Probation?

Pre-Trial Diversion vs Probationary Sentence?

There is a big difference between pre-trial diversion, and a probationary sentence, although from a defendant’s point of view, they seem very similar. Quite often, pretrial diversion programs are run by county probation departments in misdemeanor courts, and by state probation, in circuit felony courts. This is another reason why it is very important to have a skilled criminal defense specialist involved. Remember, if possible, a negotiated dismissal is vastly superior to a pretrial diversion, which involves less supervision, cost less, and usually less time involved. It is safer, to put it bluntly. With regard to probation, when someone violates probation, there is usually a no bond warrant issued.

Probation Violation

Technically, what happens is a probation officer, states that someone has violated the terms, and conditions of probation, and they file what is known as an affidavit of violation of probation. Many people are familiar with this, but what they may not be familiar with is that the probation officer will prepare a violation report form with the recommendation. Sometimes, when people get a favorable recommendation, they think the deal is done. However, it is only a recommendation. The state attorney can ask the jail, or prison when a probation officer has asked for reinstatement. That is one example amongst many.

The best thing to do in a violation of pretrial diversion, or a violation of probation community control, or house arrest situation, is to contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer immediately. There are all kinds of issues that need to be resolved in these scenarios, from arrest, bond, and hearing, and any litigation. In diversion cases, quite often, people are forced to sign pleas with no contest, but sentencing is deferred. If this is your situation, what happens next is you have a sentencing hearing without the right to have a trial. In this scenario, you need a skilled criminal defense lawyer more than ever. One of the most important functions of criminal defense is to know how to defend a client at a sentencing hearing.

If you walk into a sentencing hearing blind, or if you walk into a violation of probation community control, or diversion, what happens is that outcomes are poor. You are at one of the riskiest positions to be in, when it comes to the criminal justice system. If someone enters that plea of no contest on diversion, they are looking at sentencing. If it is a violation of probation, the burden of proof is far lower than it is with an initial charge. For an initial charge, the burden of proof is beyond, and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt. For a violation of probation, the evidentiary standard is more likely than not, which is a fancy way of saying fifty-one percent, whereas beyond, and to the exclusion of a reasonable doubt, is ninety-seven to ninety-nine percent.

For this reason, it is critically important to have someone represent you, who knows exactly what they are doing, and who is familiar with the judge, and prosecutor. They need to be familiar with the facts and circumstances in order to deliver the most affective representation possible in order to protect your legal interests.

Will Pleading Not Guilty Or Going To Trial Make Circumstances Worse For Me?

This is a common concern that many people have if they plead not guilty or maybe go to trial. The concern is that if they do not plead no contest, or guilty at their first court date, they are going to trial, and going to trial would be a horrible thing, resulting in a poor outcome, which is true. However, the first court date is not going to be a trial situation. If someone is a first offender, they often have that concern that they are walking into a trial, they are walking into what is technically called an arraignment. An arraignment is a formal charging process where the judge asks a single question “How do you plead?”

How to Plead?

Now, the state will read the charge first, but that is going to be the judge’s main question, and the proper answer in every case, unless there is a good reason otherwise is to answer with, not guilty. The best way to enter a not guilty plea is to do so without a court appearance. Why without a court appearance? The Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure allow an attorney to file a written plea of not guilty, and a waiver of arraignment. A waiver of arraignment excuses both the lawyer and the client from going to court on that day. What that does is it allows a suit of legal pleadings to be filed, because what will happen is the judge will issue an order, and there will be a series of one or more court dates.

These court dates go by different names, but quite often, they are referred to as some kind of pretrial conference, or a plea day along the way and a notice of discovery will be filed. A notice of discovery requires the State of Florida to produce the witnesses, and evidence in the form of reports, body camera footage, all kinds of information. This information is critical, because it tells what types of areas within a specific case are weak, and which areas are strong. A layperson would never know how to do that because most of the law is not easily accessible on the internet. Many people want to research the law when they are arrested, or their family member has been arrested, but the problem is they would not have access to these case laws.

What is Case Law?

Case law is a body of law made out of appeals by the court of decisions that determine whether those statutes comply with constitutional law and other laws. Case law is where defenses are found. You will almost never find defenses in the statutes online. It is critically important when someone has been arrested to hire a lawyer, and avoid pleading no contest at that first court date. In fact, it can only make it better, because it gives an opportunity to uncover defenses, and engage in negotiations without having to try to negotiate a settlement in the case. If someone tries to negotiate a settlement on their case on their own, they are at a huge disadvantage.

If they try to negotiate their case for settlement purposes without having discovery evidence, then they are even more at a disadvantage. This could result in an unexpectedly harsh sentence that could result in a loss of liberty, such as a driver’s license, a right to own firearms, and a number of other serious ramifications in addition to jail or prison time.

Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

For more information on Violation Of Pre-Trial Diversion Or Probation, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling 850-423-0035 today.

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James S.

“"Such a great service to go through when dealing with any legal matter! Mr. Cobb is very knowledgable and will take the time to understand and communicate with you in a timely manner."”

Dreeana A.

“"Everything was great and smooth working with Mr. Cobb. He was fast and efficient and answered any questions I had."”

Joshua T.

“"I would recommend Attorney Cobb to others. I would describe him as an honest and straightforward lawyer. All my concerns were addressed."”

Crystal H.

“"He was excellent, he did everything without me having to do much especially not living close. I hired him and told him everything and he did it all and it was a great experience. The legal assistant that works there was also amazing."”

Joseph S.

“"It was as clean of a process as it could have been for me. He handled everything for me because I live out of state and made it so simple and easy. He was great and thorough and I hardly had to do anything."”

William S.

“"If you can hire Stephen as your attorney then definitely do that. He talked openly and gave me assurance and even his legal assistant that works there is amazing. I never had any problems or trouble with them."”

Lonnie M.

“"I have used other lawyers in the past. I was facing years but left court with probation and a suspended sentence. Thank you and god bless you."”

Jason

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“"This is actually one of the best law firms I've had the pleasure of dealing with. They stick with you throughout the entire process, walking you through every step and they know the law! They were able to help me get out of a situation that had occurred because of a technicality and was very knowledgeable in the process. I would recommend them to anyone."”

James S.

“"Such a great service to go through when dealing with any legal matter! Mr. Cobb is very knowledgable and will take the time to understand and communicate with you in a timely manner."”

Dreeana A.

“"Everything was great and smooth working with Mr. Cobb. He was fast and efficient and answered any questions I had."”

Joshua T.

“"I would recommend Attorney Cobb to others. I would describe him as an honest and straightforward lawyer. All my concerns were addressed."”

Crystal H.

“"He was excellent, he did everything without me having to do much especially not living close. I hired him and told him everything and he did it all and it was a great experience. The legal assistant that works there was also amazing."”

Joseph S.

“"It was as clean of a process as it could have been for me. He handled everything for me because I live out of state and made it so simple and easy. He was great and thorough and I hardly had to do anything."”

William S.

“"If you can hire Stephen as your attorney then definitely do that. He talked openly and gave me assurance and even his legal assistant that works there is amazing. I never had any problems or trouble with them."”

Lonnie M.

“"I have used other lawyers in the past. I was facing years but left court with probation and a suspended sentence. Thank you and god bless you."”

Jason

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Free Initial Consultation