People make mistakes in their lives that cost them their privacy. Having an unwanted stranger in one’s house can be bad enough, but when that individual is looking for something to arrest one for, the reality is even worse. Many times, the procedures for proper search are ignored or executed incorrectly. If one has been in a situation like this, one should obtain an experienced attorney to fight the case and ensure one’s rights and defenses are known and protected.
According to the Daily Commercial, Bobby Brent Woodlief Jr. of Eustis, Florida, as well as 28 others have been arrested by a strike force of law enforcement agencies in nine Florida counties during a surprise face-to-face contact with hundreds of probationers, according to the Florida Department of Corrections. This strike force of probation officers, deputies and local police officers, collectively part of the Community Justice Coalition, began as a three-county initiative in 2007 and has conducted 14 such sweeps since. The strike force targeted probationers, including gang members, with a history of robbery, sexual battery, drug trafficking, aggravated battery and homicide and conducted walk-throughs of their residences to ensure they were complying with their conditions of probation.
When an offender is put on probation, typically a portion of the jail sentence is suspended. However, probation is conditional, meaning that if the offender does not follow the conditions of probation, probation may be withdrawn, and the suspended jail sentence and/or fines will be re-instituted.
If one is sentenced to probation in Jacksonville, one’s home can be searched without a search warrant, but only while the probation is still active. The search can include one’s home, car, and person. The probation officer must be the one to conduct the search of one’s dwelling. A police officer or social worker does not have the same authority, even though one is on probation. If the probation officer has safety concerns, they may request that a police officer be present and on “stand-by” for security purposes only.
A police officer is not authorized to assist in the warrantless search of one’s home; only the officer’s presence is allowed. The only time the officer is authorized to assist is if the probation officer finds illegal contraband, such as drugs or guns. The illegal contraband, whatever it may be, will then be turned over to the police officer who can then make an on-site arrest.
Even if one is remorseful for a crime, a prior record or history of criminal misconduct might tempt a Judge to render a prison sentence. However, with the help of anexperienced Jacksonville probation violations defense attorney, one could persuade the Judge to render a much lighter punishment that would involve counseling, house arrest or a slightly longer probation, rather than just incarceration.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
Additional Source: 28 snagged in dragnet, Millard K. Ives, The Daily Commercial