Danger Hearings

Danger Hearings in Florida

Defendants on felony probation or community control that are classified as Violent Felony Offenders of Special Concern (“VFO”) are subject to more rules. A VFO is required to undergo Danger Hearings in Florida if they have violated probation or community control. A Danger Hearing in Florida is just one of the other requirements for VFOs. 

What Triggers a Danger Hearing?

The following criteria must be met in order to trigger a Danger Hearing in Florida:
  • A defendant must be on felony probation for any offense that qualifies the defendant as a VFO.
  • The defendant must be on felony probation or community control and is arrested for a qualifying offense, or
  • the defendant is on felony probation or community control and has previously been found by a court to be one of the following:

Qualifying Offenses

Qualifying Offenses that trigger Danger Hearings in Florida are any of the following:

Anyone of the previously listed crimes can be a qualifying offense. If the Defendant has been arrested or convicted of any of those offenses, then the court must conduct a hearing to determine whether the defendant, who is properly classified as a violent felony offender in Florida, has committed a violation of felony probation or community control. 

Violation of Probation or Community Control 

The Court’s requirements regarding Danger Hearings in Florida are set out in Section 948.06, Florida Statutes. The court must make a determination regarding the defendant’s violation of probation and community control. No danger hearing is required if the defendant violations probation or community control for any of the following reasons:

  • Failure to pay costs
  • Failure to pay fines
  • Failure to pay restitution

If, however, the VFO Defendant violates probation or community control for any other reason, then the Defendant must remain in custody until the violation of probation or community control is resolved. In other words, a VFO Defendant is not entitled to a bond before the violation is resolved! As a result, a VFO Defendant could be sitting in jail for months until resolution. Additionally, the court must hold a Danger Hearing. 

Court Requirements

After conducting the hearing, if the court determines that a violent felony offender of special concern has committed a violation of probation or community control other than a failure to pay costs, fines, or restitution, the court shall:

  • Make written findings as to whether or not the VFO poses a danger to the community, based on one or more of the following:
    •  The offender’s present conduct, including criminal convictions,
    • The offender’s amenability to non-incarcerative sanctions based on his or her history and conduct during the probation or community control supervision from which the violation hearing arises and any other previous supervisions, including disciplinary records of previous incarcerations,
    • The weight of the evidence against the offender.
    • Any other facts the court considers relevant,
    • The nature and circumstances of the violation and any new offenses charged,
  • The court must also decide whether to revoke the probation or community control,
  • If the court has found that a violent felony offender of special concern poses a danger to the community, the court shall revoke probation and shall sentence the offender up to the statutory maximum, or longer if permitted by law.
  • If the court has found that a violent felony offender of special concern does not pose a danger to the community, the court may revoke, modify, or continue the probation or community control or may place the probationer into community control.

Why Should You Hire an Experienced Trial Lawyer? 

Hiring a lawyer that has actual experience in handling Danger Hearings in Florida may be the difference between prison and a more favorable result. Remember, if you are found to be a danger to the community in a danger hearing, then you could be sentenced to the maximum punishment allowable!

I have personally handled these types of cases, both as a prosecutor and a defense lawyer. As a defense attorney, I have drafted and argued motions, and successfully handled Danger Hearings in Florida that have resulted in actual dismissals of all charges against my clients, and a finding of No Danger.

If you have been accused of this type of crime, call me immediately to discuss your case. Let my experience handling these cases from both sides of the courtroom assist you in preparing your best defense.

Contact me for a free consultation. 

 

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