Jon H. Gutmacher, Esq.

Orlando Criminal Defense Lawyer

Former Prosecutor & Police Legal Advisor,

Author: "Florida Firearms -- Law, Use & Ownership",

NRA Certified Firearms Instructor,

NRA Referral Attorney.

JON H. GUTMACHER, P.A.: Orlando Criminal Trial Attorney Services

Plea Negotiations: Plea Bargains, Sentencing, And Probation In Florida

Florida, like most other states permits plea bargaining. Plea bargains are offered to the innocent and guilty, alike. The reason why the State may do this when they have a defendant they feel is guilty is that they are physically unable to try every case. There aren’t enough courts or prosecutors to do that. Moreover, some cases are weak, and a prosecutor may feel that it’s better to get some punishment than none at all. Likewise, in some cases the defendant just made a bad mistake that will never be repeated, or maybe the prosecutor doesn’t trust his witnesses or evidence. The reasons go on and on.

Likewise, a defendant, even a totally innocent one, may want to plea bargain because you never really know what’s going to happen if you go to trial. Get a good jury – and you’ll likely win. Get a bad jury – and you may lose even if innocent. A plea bargain lets you know ahead of time what punishment you can expect, and in many instances allows you to get a probationary sentence instead of jail, or even be placed into a non-judicial pretrial diversion program.

If you decide to plea bargain, and the prosecutor offers you a plea – it may include probation. If you are placed on probation you will have to report to a probation officer on a monthly basis until the probationary period ends. You will also likely have to pay a monthly probation fee for this supervision. A more intense form of probation is called “community control”. In community control cases your community control officer will call your home or office, and drop in unannounced on a frequent basis – trying to see if you’ve violated any of the conditions of community control, or if you have any drugs or weapons. It is unlawful to own or possess firearms or weapons while on probation or community control in Florida.

One of the biggest problems for citizens placed on probation is where they fail to timely report to their probation officer, or move or change jobs without notification. Those are usually violations, and a probation or community control officer can have you arrested for that, or for the commission of any new crime, or the violation of any of the other conditions of probation. In such instances, there is no right to bail, and many judges will not let you out of jail until the violation hearing occurs.

Plea bargaining is an important part of any case. While you may take the position that you are actually innocent, and will only settle for dismissal of the charges, or a trial where your innocence is established - conferring with your criminal attorney on a possible plea should never be dismissed. Perhaps, a pre-trial diversion program is possible – where you can have your case handled outside of the judicial system, and dismissed if you complete the diversion program. At the very least, talking to your criminal lawyer about this and other options are important considerations.

Jon H. Gutmacher, P.A. | 407-279-1029 | Contact Us

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