Former Teacher Appeals To Florida Supreme Court Over Reinstatement of Sex Offender Probation

Debra Lafave, a former Tampa teacher convicted of having sex with a student, has asked the Florida Supreme Court to take her off probation. This request specifically is for the 2nd District Court of Appeal to reconsider its order reinstating the remaining four years of probation she had promised to serve for having sex with a fourteen-year-old boy in 2004. Lafave was released after pleading with to a Judge for a release from the remaining portion of the sentence. Lafave was originally facing 30 years in jail.

Jacksonville probation cases typically involve cases in which someone has wrongfully violated their probation. In this case, there was no prior probation violation, but a controversial early release from that probation. Many times in Jacksonville, people are placed on probation that may seem odd or unusual; however, the specific circumstances surrounding the crime may help shape what probation requirements will be required. imagesdlf.jpg

Probation requirements can broadly range in type, though there are many standard requirements placed upon those in the system, including:

– Paying for Supervision costs
– Some jail-time as a condition of probation
– Being prohibited from violating any law
– Letters of apology
– Being Prohibited from leaving the state
– Reporting to a probation officer
– Community service hours
– Obtaining a job
– Mental health evaluations
– Restitution payments to victims
These are some of the standard requirements for probation. The judge deciding what terms will be included in one’s probation sentence also has the discretion to choose specific probation requirements for one’s charge and circumstances. However, those requirements must be reasonably related to the crime that was committed.

The state attorney’s office will contact the victim or parents of victims in these type of cases where an early release of probation is requested. The judge will consider the victim’s position on the matter. Many Judges will simply not grant an early termination of probation, especially on a negotiated, agreed to disposition. Some of these judges may feel that once the deal has been done, the ruling is final. The philosophy on early termination varies from judge to judge.

An experienced defense attorney with local knowledge should be able to counsel a client or prospective client on the probability of success. One’s opportunity for an early termination certainly increases if the victim and the state attorney do not oppose the motion for early termination. In the motion, the defense attorney should state at the bottom of the motion if the prosecutor is opposed to the early termination request.

In this case, Lafave pled to two counts of lewd and lascivious battery and was sentenced to three years of community control and seven years of sex offender probation. From this example, one can see that Lafave was able to move on with her life, completing community control, working two jobs, and giving birth to two twin sons while engaged. Though sometimes controversial, Judges may be more favorable to a defendant who shows remorse and progress in the right direction.


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: Former Florida teacher convicted of having sex with student wants off probation, FOXnews.com