The Florida Times-Union recently reported on a former Jacksonville postal worker who was sentenced to two years of probation after stealing retail store gift cards from people.
The postal worker, a former Persian Gulf Navy veteran who spent 20 years in the service, suffers from post-combat stress and picked up a drug habit in 2010, when the crime occurred, his attorney told his judge recently.
Probation in Jacksonville is a serious consequence, even though people tend to believe it is a much better deal than jail. While the defendant remains out of custody, the conditions of probation can be very difficult to handle for some. That’s why consulting with a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney can help clients decide whether probation, if it’s a viable option, is best for the defendant. An attorney can also fight to keep problematic terms out of probation requirements, thereby reducing the risks of future legal problems.
In this case, the man was ordered to pay $180 in restitution, seek drug rehab and therapy with the Department of Veterans Affairs and serve two years on probation.
While that may seem like a slap on the wrist to some, it is a serious consequence. It’s likely the man was charged with some form of theft, though the article doesn’t specifically what charges he faced.
In Florida, if a person is convicted and sentenced to probation, it typically means their attorney found some mitigating factors — or information that helps the defendant’s case — throughout the course of the case. It can also mean the state’s case against the defendant is weak, but that the defense found it to be a better plan to serve time on probation rather than risk a conviction at trial and the resulting prison sentence.
But sometimes, prison or jail is a better option for some people than probation. While that may seem like backwards thinking to some, it may be true. Some individuals aren’t able to keep up with the monthly demands of probation, which can include conditions such as time constraints on when and where they can travel, house arrest, monthly payments, drug testing and other conditions. One probation violation in Jacksonville and a person could be sitting in jail or prison for the maximum term allowable by the crime.
Of course, beating the charges and making sure the defendant doesn’t face any penalties is the first goal of any criminal defense attorney, but sometimes that’s not possible. And so sound advice and counsel become important to the defendant. We work with clients to help them determine the best course of action for them, based on their circumstances and what they are best able to accomplish. Consult with an attorney immediately in order to get the best advice for your case.
The Forbess Law Firm has been helping clients facing criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and are here to provide constitutionally required criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today through our website. Or call us at 904-634-0900.