Monday, January 11, 2016

Can you go to Jail for a Probation Violation for Failure to Pay Fines & Complete DUI Classes? ~ Chosen as "Best Answer" by Asker on AVVO ~ Call Michael A. Haber, Esq. @ 1-888-SHARK-8-1

Q:     What kind of jail time am I looking at?  Probation violation on a DUI charge for failure to pay fines and complete DUI class due to unemployment due to a layoff resulting in homelessness (Lee County, Florida)...all other weekly classes, urine checks, community service and probation officer meetings completed

A:    Chosen as "Best Answer" by Asker on

Best Answer
chosen by asker
Answered If its a 1st DUI then on a VOP you face 6 months, a 2nd 9, an accident 12, a 3rd or subsequent then 5 years.

If you willfully and substantially fail to comply with any condition(s) of your probation - including making court ordered payments and especially failure to complete DUI school - then a violation can be filed and, if the court finds that you both willfully and substantially failed to comply then you can be incarcerated. But, that said, there is no such thing as a debtor's prison in the US or FL

In order to incarcerate you for failure to pay the court must first hold a hearing and afford you due process, including a right to present evidence that your failure to make your Court Ordered payments was not willful - that is to say that you could not (not that you chose not to) make the payments. "Willfulness" requires some degree of choice. If you have money and choose to spend it on things other than your Court Ordered obligations then you can be punished; but if you truly do not, and if the State cannot prove that you made such a choice, then you also cannot be jailed for your non-willful failure to pay.

The Court has other alternatives to jailing you; namely it can choose to extend your probation (assuming that there remains statutorily permissible time for such an extension), convert your balance to either a criminal order (in the case of restitution) or community service hours (in the case of monies other than restitution) or s/he may be able to waive the costs / fees / fines and simply terminate your probation (successfully or unsuccessfully, as s/he sees fit). However, and again, if you truly could not pay then your violation should not be considered "willful", and without that necessary component you cannot be violated and incarcerated.

All of this said, if you know that you will not be able to make your payments then you will be best advised NOT to wait for your PO to violate you and instead you should consider causing the matter to be brought before Judge beforehand - thereby hopefully impressing your Judge by your preemptive demonstration of a respectable level of acceptance of responsibility.

If you truly cannot make your payments then gather accurate records of your finances (income and expenses) and don'to sweat it (unless, of course, you are willfully not paying). If you have a lawyer then you should discuss this with her / him and have a preemptive motion filed; if not then you should consider asking your PO if s/he will assist you to get the matter in front of the Judge now, as opposed to waiting for an imminent violation. Either way so long as you are not spending your money on superfluous things and you are truly strapped for cash then I am confident that the good Judges of the Ft. Myers area will show some compassion and understanding to your situation. 

As for the DUI school you will likely be in a different boat, even if your failure was fiscally related.  Further, regardless of what happens in Court DMV will not reinstate your driving privilege until you have completed the school (meaning that you could conceivably never be licensed again...) so please be both mindful and careful.

I hope that I have been helpful in answering your question.
First, second and third: No attorney-client relationship exists by virtue of any Q&A with Michael A. Haber, Esq. on Avvo. Fourth: Anything that you post on Avvo (or on similar sites) or on any social media is by its nature public. It is essentially an admission / confession and can be introduced into evidence as a statement against your interest in a subsequent legal proceeding. Once posted you lose any reasonable expectation of privacy, so, as this is an open forum (with no privilege attached), please be extra careful when considering what to post online (forewarned is forearmed.)

When it comes to the subject of "Cops, Courts and Constitutions" you should always have a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney who is focused on serving your interests.  While we can't stop the cops from arresting you, as your legal counsel Michael A. Haber, PA will ensure that your rights are respected from the moment that representation begins and that any abuses which may have occurred beforehand are remedied.

At Michael A. Haber, P.A. "Its all about reasonable doubt"!

Michael A. Haber, Esq. is prepared to speak with you about your case!

Cell: 305-798-2220; Office: 305-381-8686; Toll Free: 1-888-SHARK-8-1


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