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The Florida Bar

Community Control

House Arrest is called Community Control in Florida and it is a more restrictive form of the supervision alternative to incarceration. Sometimes, a jail term can be coupled with a probation term after prison, which will run consecutively. The terms and conditions for the house arrest will depend on individual cases. A Florida criminal court has to specify the sanctions, and other terms and conditions of the community control plan at the time of sentencing.

House arrest may be for all 24 hours in a day, every day, or there might a time specified where the person is allowed to attend work, school, or for going out to do some specific task. Monitoring the house arrest is usually done with an electronic monitoring device that has to be worn on the body of the person, or alternatively a probation officer is assigned the task of paying random house visits. Electronic monitors have grown far more sophisticated than they were even just a few years ago according to criminal lawyers. Depending on the level of supervision, some monitoring devices track the probationer within a few inches of there precise location at all times recording in on an internet cloud.

Recordings of the wearers every move may be pulled up by an assigned probation officer if it is alleged that a probationer did not adhere to his restrictions regarding location.

Any court has the authority to impose special conditions and sanctions in a sentence of community control. A community control sentence ordered by a Florida county or circuit criminal court is supervised by Florida Department of Corrections, whereas community control sentence ordered by a federal court is supervised by United States Bureau of Prisons. Community control officers or probations officers do not have any authority to modify or alter the conditions of a community control sentence imposed by Florida or a federal court. What this means is that an assigned community control officer may not violate a supervised individual for disobeying restrictions that were added by the probationer and not ordered originally by the court.

A Violation of Community Control Attorney will always review the alleged violation and compare it to the stated conditions orally pronounced by the court. If the action was not an actual violation of one of the original conditions, a defendant may not be found to have violated and the action by the prosecutor must be withdrawn.

Restrictions on Travel When on Community Control

Apart from the hours of house arrest sanctioned in a community control sentence, certain travel restrictions are also imposed. A person undergoing community control will not be able to travel freely, and can only travel within a designated area. If the person needs to travel outside the county or designated area, permission has to be obtained from the supervising judge.

Not complying with any of the terms and conditions or sanctions of the community control sentence will therefore amount to a violation. Some of the common violations are:

  • Not keeping to the timings of house arrest
  • Travelling beyond the designated area
  • Not wearing the electronic monitoring anklet
  • Committing a new crime or traffic violation during community control
The Process

In Florida, law enforcement authorities can make an arrest or order an arrest for any violation of community control order, without an arrest warrant. After the arrest, the individual is sent to the court where the community control order was passed for the original crime. The person accused of community control violation/s is entitled to a hearing; however, the case will be heard only by a judge and there will be no jury trial.

Change of Opinion

At the hearing, the judge will review all the evidence presented to the court regarding the violation/s and will review the circumstances at the time of arrest. The judge will then take a decision to revoke, change, or continue the community control sentence. If the sentence is revoked, the individual is deemed guilty of the original crime and can be sentenced to the full prison term that is applicable to that original crime. The judge might also make the decision of changing the community control sentence to a longer term and/or impose stricter sanctions.

Always Inform Your Violation of Community Control Attorney of Mitigating Factors

The judge might decide to continue with the current community control sentence, if the violation/s was minor, or there were special circumstances, which prompted the individual to violate the community control order. For instance, special circumstances could be when the individual became ill or was injured and had to visit a doctor at the time of house arrest, or had to travel beyond the restricted area. Sometimes, the individual might not be aware of every detail of the community control order, and might commit a violation unknowingly. If the individual is able to prove this at the hearing, the judge may take a lenient view and continue with the current sentence.

For more information about this type of case contact:
Defense Attorney William R. Moore 
(954) 523-5333

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