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The Perils Of Probation In Port St. Lucie


Normally, prosecutors almost always offer probation to defendants in St. Lucie County. If the defendant has a job and/or a family, staying in “the free world” is usually better than going to jail. The state gets something as well. Prison inmates represent a significant cost. The State of Florida spends over $20,000 per inmate per year. Probationers, on the other hand, generate revenue for the state. They pay things like fines, court costs, and supervision fees as a condition of probation.

Nevertheless, probation has an obvious allure to almost everyone. But all that glitters is not gold. That old saying is especially true in criminal defense cases. Just because it seems like a good deal does not mean that it is a good deal.

Common Probation Conditions in Florida

To many people, the standard probation conditions in St. Lucie County do not seem too burdensome. Most of the requirements are things that people already voluntarily do. Some standard conditions include:

  • Work and/or go to school full time,
  • Commit no other criminal offenses,
  • Support all dependents,
  • Submit to random drug tests (especially if the person is on probation for DUI or a drug offense), and
  • Avoid people and places of ill character or reputation.

Not all these conditions are easy for everyone to follow. That’s especially true because some of these factors are beyond the defendant’s control, at least to some extent. For example, black youths are five times more likely to get arrested and go to jail as white youths.

One of the biggest pluses of probation is that the case may not go on your permanent record. If you receive pretrial diversion probation, the prosecutor will dismiss the case if you successfully complete the probation. If you receive withheld adjudication probation, you may be eligible to have the records sealed ten years later.

Is Jail Time Better than Probation in Florida?

These advantages are obviously only available in some cases. Without them, a brief period of confinement may be better than an extended period of probation. As mentioned earlier, that’s especially true if the Port St. Lucie defendant is not working and/or has no familial or other obligations. Moreover, some people have difficulty accepting authority, following rules, and being at certain places at certain times.

Furthermore, there may be options other than straight jail time. Many jurisdictions in the Treasure Coast offer things like weekday or work release. Inmates go to work as scheduled and then spend most of their off-hours in jail.

In a misdemeanor, a Port St. Lucie attorney can often work out a jail term of less than thirty days, especially if the offense is not a violent one. It’s always important to go over every detail, as well as all pros and cons, before accepting or rejecting a plea agreement.

Reach Out to Aggressive Lawyers

Probation is usually, but not always, a good way to resolve a criminal case. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. Convenient payment plans are available.


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