Violations of probation (VOP’s) come in all shapes and sizes. Some are more difficult to prove than others. A dirty urine violation, for example, is deceptively complex. Even a curfew violation may not be as simple as you might think. But today we’re going to review what happens when a citizen is on probation and violates by getting arrested on a new charge. Nothing gets a prosecutor more giddy than a VOP case based upon a new arrest. But, don’t be distracted by a prosecutor’s confidence, as their zeal often blinds them to the weaknesses in their case. I’m all for a little confidence, it makes my job easier.
The recent case of Vidale v. State sheds some light on just how difficult it can be to prove up a new law violation at a VOP hearing. 166 So. 3d 935 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015). Vidale was serving a two year probationary term for dealing in stolen property and throwing a deadly missile. Like all other probationers, he had two prime directives while on probation. First, don’t get arrested. Second, don’t hang out with criminals. Easy enough, right? These conditions pretty much parrot every mom’s advice on Earth. Unfortunately, Vidale found himself in jail on a violation of probation due to a new arrest for burglary of a dwelling and possession of cannabis. Here’s the testimony at the violation of probation hearing. Continue Reading