Alternative Sanctioning Program

In Florida, when a criminal defendant has been found guilty either by a jury of his or her peers or by a sitting judge without a jury, or as a result of a guilty plea or nolo contendere put forth by the criminal defendant, he or she must serve the sentence that is ultimately decided. Many times a criminal defendant may not have to serve a long sentence or any sentence at all, but may be placed on probation for a period of time to ensure that he or she is acting like a productive member of a society. While a person is on probation, there are serious rules and regulations that he or she has to follow and sometimes not every rule or regulation is followed or the criminal defendant is unable to follow due to unforeseen circumstances. In the past, the criminal defendant would be returned to jail for violating his or her probation. If you or a loved one have violated your probation, please contact West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney William Wallshein for a confidential consultation.

The Alternative Sanctioning Program

On July 1, 2016, a recent alternative sanctioning program went into effect. The purpose was to limit the extent of overcrowding in prisons, as well as relieve the backlogged and overwrought criminal justice system from having to detangle any violations of one’s probation that were technical and not otherwise a new misdemeanor, felony offense, or criminal traffic offense. When a criminal defendant is on probation and technically violates his or her probation, the alternative sanctioning program allows the person to be sanctioned by his or her probation officer without having to return to prison.

How the Program Works

According to the new law put into place outlining the details of the alternative sanctioning program, technical violation of probation is defined as any violation of supervision that does not arise to a new misdemeanor, felony offense, or criminal traffic offense. The person on probation will then be offered the opportunity to participate in the program, for which he or she may decide to waive his or her participation. If the person agrees to participate in the program, he or she admits to the violation, must satisfy the sanctions issued by the probation officer, waive the right to be represented by an attorney, and waive his or her due process rights and the right to present evidence or bring in witnesses on his or her behalf. The probationer will know in advance, before deciding whether to enter into the program or not, the extent of the recommended sanctions that are being suggested by the probation officer.

The Discretion of the Court on Recommended Sanctions and the Right of the Probationer to Leave the Program

If a probation officer submits a recommended sanction for review of a probationer, it is up to the court to determine the reasonability of the sanction. The court may decide to administer the sanction as recommended by the probation officer, it may alter the sanction, or it may decline to use the sanction. The probationer’s decision to enter into the alternative sentencing program is completely voluntary and he or she may decide to leave the program at any time. In the event the probationer leaves the program, the probation officer can submit a violation report along with an affidavit and the court may decide how to proceed on the technical violation of the person’s probation.

Please contact West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney William Wallshein for a confidential consultation.