Alternative Sanctions Program for Felony Probation Violations

Defendants often have difficulty abiding by the specific probation conditions; yet failing to do so can lead to more serious consequences, like going back to jail or prison. In some cases, a defendant may even face a more severe sentence than he would have endured had probation not been a part of the original sentence. It’s important to speak with a Violation of Probation defense lawyer in Orlando if you face consequences for breaking the rules.

Following the terms of probation to a T is often more challenging than defendants anticipate. Typically, judges cater specific probation requirements to the particular case. In general, defendants must:

  • Avoid being arrested
  • Avoid drinking to excess or at all if the defendant is on probation for a DUI offense
  • Avoid using illegal substances
  • Avoid cohabiting with others who commit crimes
  • Maintain regular communication with probation officers
  • Maintain employment

Additionally, defendants may be required to complete a DUI course, drug rehabilitation, an anger management seminar, conduct community service, pay fines and restitution, or other requirements. Probation officers routinely monitor and screen defendants on probation. As a defendant, you must submit to drug tests, vehicle, and home searches. There may be several opportunities to violate the terms of probation, and you may find yourself doing so unintentionally.

Recently, a new administrative order introduced an Alternative Sanctions Program for those on felony probation in Orange and Osceola Counties. This program allows qualifying offenders to avoid jail time for minor probation violations.

Orange County Alternative Sanctions Program

It wasn’t long ago that violating even one term of felony probation guaranteed incarceration. Today, certain defendants may be eligible to participate in the Alternative Sanctions Program for Violations of Felony Probation to avoid jail or prison. This program is available to those accused of technical (minor) violations. Minor violations of probation may include:

  • Failing a drug test or failing to submit to a drug test
  • Failing to report to your probation officer or reporting late
  • Missing an appointment with your probation officer
  • Failing to pay restitution or court fees
  • Failing to complete community service
  • Curfew violations
  • Failing to report a change in employment or residence or obtaining such without the approval of your probation officer
  • Failing to leave the county without permission from your probation officer
  • Failing to maintain employment

These minor violations may make you eligible for the Alternative Sanctions Program in Orange or Osceola County. A new arrest while on probation is not a minor violation and thus may lead to severe consequences.

In simple terms, if you commit a technical felony probation violation, you can avoid jail time by entering the Alternative Sanctions Program (ASP). Alternative Sanctions accomplishes a few goals:

  • Reduces the number of probation violation hearings
  • Reduces the workload of prosecutors and defense attorneys
  • Minimizes the use of law enforcement resources required to serve violation warrants
  • Reduces the jail population for offenders awaiting violation hearings
  • Offers offenders an alternative to a violation hearing in court, allowing him or her to remain engaged in employment, school, treatment, etc.

Sounds too good to be true, right? If you have violated felony probation in Orange or Osceola County, Florida, there may be downsides to participating in the program.

Downsides of the Alternative Sanctions Program

You do not need an attorney to participate in Alternative Sanctions, but it may not be the best idea for many defendants, particularly if you doubt that you are guilty of violating the terms of your probation. Here are the downsides to the ASP:

  1. Agreeing to the ASP is an admission of guilt. Defendants who participate admit the violation of probation (VOP). Any subsequent VOP will cause your original VOP to appear on your score sheet.
  2. Agreeing to the ASP voids your right to an attorney, any defenses you may have to the VOP, and your right to appeal the VOP.
  3. You can get more sanctions, which you will have a limited amount of time to complete. Failing to complete them on time will lead to a formal VOP, which will lead to an arrest.
  4. If you sign the ASP plea form, you submit a guilty plea. If you fail to complete the ASP and your probation officer files a formal VOP, you have already admitted and pleaded guilty.
  5. The judge must agree to your participation in the Alternative Sanctions Program.

Never make a decision as important as participating in an alternative sentencing program without seeking competent and experienced legal counsel. The Umansky Law Firm employs a team of criminal defense lawyers in Orlando who have over 100 years of experience fighting Violation of Felony Probation charges. Allow us to help you make the best decision for your case. Call 407-228-3838 or contact us online for a free consultation.