Probation Violations and the Florida Anti-Murder Act

The Anti-Murder Act in Florida requires violent felony offenders or other certain types of offenders who violate probation or community control to remain in jail until the court determines whether the individual poses a danger to the community.  This law was established in March 2007.  The Florida Department of Corrections will designate those offenders as Violent Felony Offenders of Special Concern or “VFO” on the violation of probation or community control affidavit.

Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure 3.790(b)(3) indicates that except when the alleged violation of probation is based solely on the defendant’s failure to pay costs, fines, or restitution, the defendant shall not be granted bail or any other form of pretrial release prior to the resolution of the probation or community control violation hearing.  The court shall not dismiss the probation violation warrant pending against a defendant without holding a recorded violation hearing at which both the state and the accused are represented.  At that hearing, the court shall make a written finding as to whether the defendant poses a danger to the community.

The court bases its findings on one or more of the following factors:

  1. The nature and circumstances of the violation and any new offenses charged;
  2. The defendant’s present conduct, including criminal convictions;
  3. The defendant’s amenability to nonincarcerative sanctions based on his or her history and conduct during the probation or community control supervision from which the violation hearing arises and any other previous supervisions, including disciplinary records of previous incarcerations;
  4. The weight of the evidence against the defendant; and
  5.  Any other facts the court considers relevant

If the court finds the defendant is a danger threat to the community, the court shall revoke probation or community control and sentence the defendant up to the statutory maximum.  If the court finds the defendant does not pose a danger threat to the community, the court may revoke, modify, or continue the probation or community control or may place the probationer into community control.

If you are charged with violating your probation or community control, contact an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorney to understand your rights.  Contact the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC for a consultation.

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