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What can I do if I'm accused of violating my probation?

Receiving probation as part of a criminal sentence is often considered a great relief to anyone facing jail time. However, probation is not the same thing as having a "get out of jail free" card.

There are numerous conditions and requirements with which a person must comply when he or she is on probation. Failure to comply with any of these can result in new charges and reinstated penalties for the original offense. Because of all that is at stake, it is critical to take allegations of probation violations seriously, even if you disagree with the allegations.

As noted in Florida statutes on probation, any law enforcement agent can arrest if you are on probation and he or she has reason to believe you are in violation of your probation. Officers won't need a warrant and they very likely will not have all the details about your situation.

Not surprisingly, this can result in some contention. One officer may view something you are doing as a probation violation while another would never have reason to suspect wrongdoing or question a particular activity. Further, you may not think you have done anything wrong because you are complying with what you have been told by your probation officer. There are also instances where someone looking to hurt you could falsely accuse you of a violation.

Whatever the details of a situation might be, the fact is that you can be arrested for violating your probation, but this does not mean you have done so. This is critical to remember.

In this situation, how you act and what you say can have a dramatic impact on the course of events that follow. You should comply with police orders and remember that you have the right to remain silent. Try to stay calm and ask to speak with an attorney immediately.

Once you discuss your situation with your attorney, you can work to clear up any misunderstandings, address any alleged probation violations and explain your side of the story. In some cases, you may be released without any further legal action. In other cases, you may face criminal charges, but you can work with your attorney to defend yourself in the courtroom.

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