What you can and can’t do if you’re on probation after being convicted of a criminal charge depends on several factors, including the crime you were convicted of. The details of probation are different for each region, but there aren’t blanket prohibitions against drinking alcohol while one probation in the Southern District of Florida.
Find out more about what you can and can’t do while on probation in the Southern District of Florida below, including whether or not you can drink alcohol. Learn more about how a criminal law attorney can help you before and during probation.`
What Is Probation?
Probation is part of a sentence in response to a criminal conviction. The point of probation is to let someone serve their sentence within their own community. They do so under the supervision of a probation officer, and they must check in with that officer as agreed.
Probation also comes with other rules designed to ensure someone is living a safe, lawful life and being a valued member of their community.
Can You Drink Alcohol on Probation in the Southern District of Florida
The standard conditions of probation supervision for the Southern District of Florida do not 100% prohibit alcohol consumption. Instead, the standard rules indicate that someone on probation should not drink to excess — meaning drunkenness. In general, someone on probation can have a beer with a friend or a glass of wine at dinner.
However, the courts can make changes to the standard conditions in specific cases. If someone is convicted of a criminal charge involving alcohol or other substance abuse, the probation sentence may specify that the person cannot consume any alcohol at all during probation.
If you were convicted of DUI charges or another offense where alcohol played a role in the crime, make sure you check with your attorney to understand all the conditions of your parole. Specifically ask whether alcohol consumption is prohibited so you can avoid violating your probation by doing something as simple as grabbing a cold one at the next backyard cookout.
What Can’t You Do While on Probation?
Violating probation can mean you end up with jail or prison time. Since the point of probation is to avoid that, it’s critical to understand all the rules of your probation.
Here are some things you typically can’t do when you’re on probation:
- You can’t commit any other crimes, including federal, state, or local crimes. In most cases, this doesn’t include minor traffic violations that would result in a civil penalty, though reckless driving or serious traffic crimes may be an issue.
- You typically can’t leave a certain area without getting specific permission from a probation officer or court. The area may be defined as the state or another judicial jurisdiction.
- You can’t be involved in the use, possession, or distribution of any controlled or illegal substances. You can’t even be in places where this type of activity is known to happen.
- You can’t associate with anyone who has been convicted of a felon before unless you get permission from your probation officer.
- In some cases, you can’t agree to any type of deal to act as an informant without specific court approval.
The standard rules of probation also say a lot about what you have to do. Some things you must do while on probation include:
- Reporting as directed to your probation officer
- Answering all questions asked by the probation officer truthfully
- Meeting family responsibilities, including supporting any dependents you have
- Notifying your probation officer 10 days before you move or change employers
- Working regularly at a lawful job unless the probation officer or court has approved not working for reasons like going to school or caring for children
- Letting your probation officer know within 72 hours if you are questioned by any law enforcement agent or arrested in any matter
What Is the Difference Between Probation and Parole?
Probation is a sentence you serve in the community without first serving prison time. Parole is the part of a sentence you serve in the community after you serve jail or prison time. Many of the same rules required during probation are also required for those in a parole period.
What Happens if You Violate Probation?
If you fail to uphold any of the rules of your probation, you face a resentencing. That means the court can decide on a new sentence for the crime you were convicted of and serving probation for.
The court can sentence you up to the maximum allowed for the original crime, even if it’s only your first probation violation. So, if the original crime would have allowed up to five years of jail time, you could face that if you violate probation.
Getting Help With Criminal Charges, Including Probation Violation
Of course, there are mitigating factors, and courts do understand that not all probation violations are equal. Having an experienced Florida criminal law attorney on your side when facing a probation violation charge helps you navigate these factors and protect your interests.
You aren’t entitled to bail, for example, but judges do consider all the factors of the case in deciding whether to hold you in jail until your hearing. A lawyer can help you make a case for why you should be eligible for bail and then help you plan a defense to mitigate loss of freedom and other penalties that might result due to a probation violation.
If you’re facing criminal charges or dealing with probation issues, reach out to Piotrowski Law today to find out how we can help.