Probation: Monthly Reports in Broward County

Probation in Florida

If you have been arrested for a crime in Broward County and subsequently pled guilty or no-contest, you may have been placed on probation. The attorneys at our office want to remind you of the importance of filing monthly reports if ordered to do so. The failure to file monthly reports is a sufficient basis … Read more Probation: Monthly Reports in Broward County

Parole and Probation

William R. Moore Criminal Defense Lawyer | Broward County FL

Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney, William Moore, claims that many Floridians mistakenly believe that criminal defendants convicted of serious crimes will serve only a short period of time in prison before being released on parole. This misunderstanding may be due to the lenient parole systems in other states or the way parole worked many years ago. They may also hear of notorious criminals being released on parole after rehabilitation during decades in prison, says Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney William Moore. In any case, the parole system in Florida emphasizes the importance of serving the vast majority of a sentence behind bars.
If a defendant is convicted and sentenced to a prison sentence for a crime that occurred on or after October 1, 1995, according to Broward criminal attorney Moore. He must serve no less than 85 percent of the sentence before being eligible for parole. That means, for example, that a person convicted of burglary who is sentenced to ten years in prison must serve a minimum of eight and a half years. Likewise, a person convicted of sexual battery who is sentenced to 15 years must serve at least 12.8 years before being eligible to go before the parole board.
The calculations do not apply to absolutely every sentence, however, and the most notable exception is life imprisonment. A person who has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole cannot thereafter be paroled in the state of Florida. There is a separate sentence for life with the possibility of parole, which is the sentence approximately six percent of Florida inmates are currently serving, compared to five percent without the possibility of parole.
The Florida law has resulted in an increase in the percentage of a sentence that the average inmate serves in the state. In 2001, the average percentage served was 82.4 percent, reflecting a fair number of inmates whose convictions were for crimes committed before the cutoff date. By 2005, the figure had increased to 85.7 percent. Parole remains infrequent: in 2005, of all of the prisoners released, just 0.2 percent were paroled, or one of every 500 released.

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Violations of Probation Can Have Serious Consequences

Violations of Probation Fort Lauderdale Attorney

Fort Lauderdale Criminal Attorney William Moore handles many different types of criminal defense cases, including driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. One common issue that trips up many new clients is probation. Probation is a tool frequently used by judges or offered by state attorneys in plea agreements. It is less costly than imprisoning or jailing a person, yet still allows for the state to exercise a large degree of control over an offender.
One of the most common ways a person ends up on probation is after taking a plea deal. In exchange for a guilty plea, the prosecutor may agree to offer, for example, a year of probation. For a criminal defendant who has a difficult case to win at trial, this may be a good offer, depending on the circumstances of his or her individual case, says Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney Moore. After all, there is certainty that the defendant can avoid time in jail.

Probation is not as easy as some people believe it is, however, and the defendant must comply with numerous requirements. He will have to pay various fees and will likely be forbidden from consuming drugs or alcohol. He will be subjected to random drug tests. He cannot be arrested again for any other crime.
The consequences of violating probation are serious. In a violation of probation hearing, the state does not need to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, as it does in a trial for a regular crime. The defendant does not get to have a jury trial and can event be forced to incriminate himself by giving testimony – no taking the Fifth Amendment. There’s no bail while awaiting a violation of probation hearing, so you could be stuck in jail for weeks while you await your hearing. Even something as simple as failing to pay court costs counts as a violation of probation.

When sentencing you, the judge can be as harsh as he or she could have been when sentencing for the under lying crime (the one that resulted in the probation). So even if you complete 11 of 12 months of probation successfully, the judge could order you to jail for another year, according to Broward criminal attorney Moore. However, the outcome of a violation of probation depends on the unique facts of each case.

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House Arrest Conditions Modified for Donte Stallworth

Criminal Lawyers in Broward County | William R. Moore Attorney 954-523-5333

Earlier this year, the national media descended upon Fort Lauderdale to cover the DUI Manslaughter case of Donte Stallworth, notes Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney William Moore. Stallworth was a star professional football player who has a home in the Fort Lauderdale-Dade area. He was out for a night drinking in swanky Fort Lauderdale Beach clubs when he left to return to his home in the early hours of the morning. Stallworth’s vehicle struck Mario Reyes, a local construction worker who was crossing the street to catch a bus after finishing his night shift job. Stallworth immediately contacted the police, but Reyes was killed in the accident, Broward DUI Lawyer William Moore says.
Stallworth’s blood alcohol concentration was 0.126 at the time of the accident, in excess of the 0.08 percent level at which Florida law presumes a driver is too impaired to drive. The football player has maintained that he flashed his lights and honked his horn to warn Reyes prior to the collision and a police investigation of the accident determined that Reyes was not crossing the street in a crosswalk, Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney William Moore says.
The family of Mario Reyes, including his wife and teenaged daughter, apparently sought a quick resolution to the criminal case, as well as the civil case they filed against Stallworth, so that they could move on with their lives. Stallworth accepted a plea deal from Fort Lauderdale-Dade prosecutors that has been widely criticized for its perceived leniency, providing for only about a month in jail, followed by a longer period of house arrest and probation. He also agreed to settle the family’s civil suit for an undisclosed sum of money.
Recently, Stallworth was successful in his bid to challenge the house arrest conditions. He wanted to be able to leave his house five times per week to work out with a personal trainer, due to his need to maintain a very high degree of physical conditioning. The State Attorney’s Office opposed the motion, however, since he is not currently employed as a professional football player. Nonetheless, the judge granted the motion over the state’s objection, leaving Stallworth free to work out at a local high school with a trainer five times per week. He is also allowed to leave his home for employment purposes, to engage in community service, and for certain other court-approved activities.

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Teenage Batterer Violates Her Probation in Broward County

Last spring, Floridians were shocked when reports that six teenaged girls from Lakeland had savagely beaten their 16-year-old classmate, says Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney William Moore. Eight teenagers were eventually arrested for the beating. Six of those arrested were other girls who went to school with the victim, who was a cheerleader. The attackers were between 14 and 18 years of age. Two boys were also arrested for their role, keeping guard outside of the home where the beating occurred.
Broward criminal lawyer Moore has learned that Mercades Nichols, who is now 18 years old, was arrested for violation of probation. She received three years of probation at her sentencing hearing in March of this year for her role in the beating. Nichols was arrested after allegedly driving her grandmother’s car through a neighbor’s yard, destroying the lawn on June 14. Police said she will be arraigned on July 23 and, in the meantime, will be held in the county jail without bail.
The video the girls took was widely publicized and was posted on YouTube. The victim sustained a concussion during the attack, in addition to significant bruising and injuries to an eye and ear. At one point, the victim became unconscious. During the beating, the girls encourage one another and even expressed concern over the possibility of damaging furniture as they hit the girl. In the video, she appears to try to protect herself, insisting that she does not want to fight, and does not retaliate against her attackers.
The victim told law enforcement officials that her attackers indicated their intent to post the video on that site and on MySpace. Their desire to put up the video was apparently one of the main motivating factors in the battery. The clip does not show the entire incident including the beginning, when a girl rammed the victim’s head repeatedly into a wall. The video they recorded is below, but beware that it contains violent images:

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