What Are The Different Levels Of Probation Plus Conditions Of Probation?

What Are The Different Levels Of Probation Plus Conditions Of Probation?

Practicing Criminal Law Since 1998

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Interviewer: Does probation have different levels, where you only go in maybe once a month with a lower level; or they constantly watch you at a higher level?

Ladan Law: It does. In county court, there is one level of probation. It is either supervised or unsupervised probation. Unsupervised probation in county court is almost a legal fiction. There is no organized unsupervised probation. So basically you are on the honor system. It is used very rarely, and judges do not like to do it because there is really no accountability.

Supervised probation on the county level is the norm. It is the standard, and there is one level of probation. The judge can add additional sanctions on top of that; such as house arrest and ankle monitor. Those are conditions of probation. They are not a different level of probation.

It is different in felony court, with two levels of probation. Number one is regular supervised probation. This regular supervised probation has a breakaway component of drug offender supervised probation. It requires a few additional sanctions that would be reasonable for someone suspected of having a drug abuse issue, such as increased random testing and limitation of allowed prescription medications. Things like that can fall under the drug offender probation.

The higher level of probation is called community control. Community control is the secondary level of probation that is almost equivalent to house arrest. An offender is required to write out a weekly schedule. He is she is also subject to frequent and random pop-ins by their community control officer. In some cases, they are required to keep a driving log.

It is very formal. It is considered “super probation.” Unless you have a reason to be at a place other than your house, you should not be there. It is very difficult. Less than 10% of all people placed on community control successfully complete it without some sort of violation.

Interviewer: Is that an instance you talked about where you are set-up to fail?

Ladan Law: That can be one. That is number one, a punishment sanction; and number two, a last alternative before state prison.

Interviewer: What are some common probation conditions for misdemeanors versus the two levels for felonies?

Ladan Law: Sex offender probation is incredibly complex. There are just a slew of additional sanctions that a labeled sex offender will have to comply with; including curfews and limitations on where they live and work.

It is incredibly restrictive and it really takes a detailed analysis with an attorney to even begin to understand what you are getting yourself into when you agree to sex offender probation. If any defendants ever hear the word “sex offender probation,” they absolutely need to sit down with an attorney and have those sanctions explained to them. There are a slew of them. They are numerous. They are incredibly restrictive and people need to know what they are getting themselves into.

Let’s talk regular probation. You have a simple possession of cocaine case. An ordinary sentence would be 18 to 24 months supervised probation, wherein the person will go to the probation department once a month.

Also, they will be required to pay a monthly fee for being monitored. In state probation, I believe it is $20 per month. In addition, they will also be subject to random drug testing that can happen at any time.

They would be required to do community service hours and perhaps a drug awareness class; and also required to not violate the law. Those are the general conditions. Now, there are other conditions that are standard. For example, while on probation you may not possess a firearm and you are not allowed to drink alcohol to excess.

There are some standard conditions on every probationary sentence, and an attorney can go through those with a defendant based on their particular charge.

As I mentioned, drug offender probation is going to be an increased frequency of random drug tests. In addition to these tests, there may be regularly scheduled drug tests at the defendant’s expense. It is determinative on the nature of the charge. Again, it is really advisable for a defendant to sit down with an attorney prior to accepting probation and discuss the ramifications based on their charges.

Interviewer: Is DUI a special case? What conditions would those offenders have?

Ladan Law: The minimum sanctions for a first-time DUI conviction are as follows: They will be placed on probation for a period of 12 months. They are required to do a DUI counter-attack school, and any recommended treatment after that school. They will have to do 50 hours of community service, and pay a $500 fine for court costs. They also have to complete the Victim Awareness Program.

There are a few other DUI sanctions, including a 10 day impound of the vehicle. Then, in addition to reporting every month, you have to show completion as you go through the programs. All those things will be conditions of a normal probation.

The general spirit is, “Hey, listen. We have given you a list of things to do. These are all conditions of probation. If you fail to do any of them, that may result in a violation of probation and you are subject to the same sanctions you would have been were you to originally plead guilty.

Interviewer: Are SCRAM bracelets, alcohol monitoring bracelets, GPS and home detention used with probation?

Ladan Law: That is a good question. Those are special sanctions of probation. They can be requested by anyone, even the state attorney’s office. They can be imposed without agreement by the judges if they feel it is an appropriate sanction. This happens in very few circumstances, but it does happen.

Defendants themselves will request a SCRAM bracelet to give them added incentive. Maybe that is the thing they absolutely need as a constant reminder not to consume alcohol or illicit drugs. It is rare, but sometimes an added condition of drug treatment can be beneficial to someone.

When you are court ordered into drug treatment, there may be a reduced cost or you may be eligible for some state funding that you might not ordinarily be eligible for if you just did that on your own volition.

I have on occasion asked people, as a special condition of their probation, to complete a drug treatment center. If it is ordered by the judge, the cost of that drug treatment may be less than if they just walked in off the street.

Interviewer: What overall advice can you offer regarding probation?

That is a good overview of violation of probation. We are just scratching the surface. This is the tip of the iceberg as far as probation law.

My best advice: Before you accept probation or before you are told you have violated probation, it is best to talk to an attorney to get all of your options.

The Ladan Law Firm is a prestigious Orlando criminal defense office dedicated to helping those who need it most.

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Author: Amir Ladan
A former assistant state attorney for Orange/Osceola Counties, Amir has handled thousands of cases and dozens of trials, ranging from DUI and traffic offenses to murder, in both adult and juvenile court.


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