The Koger Building
Corner of 9th Street North & Gandy Blvd.
9721 Executive Center Drive North, Suite 120
St. Petersburg, FL 33702
A St. Petersburg Probation Lawyer May Help You Avoid A Jail Sentence
If your charge arises out of the St. Petersburg / Clearwater area, we can throughly examine the facts and the law involved in your case. If our investigation reveals a strong likelihood of conviction, our objective will, of couse, be to seek an alternative sentence or treatment that avoids your incarceration. We take our obligation seriously to do everything possible to avoid a county jail or prison sentence. This objective may be accomplished by obtaining a Pinellas probation sentence that avoids jail altogether.
The U.S. Probation & Pretrial Services reported that in Fiscal Year 2003, it cost $22,265.00 a year or $61.00 a day to feed, clothe, and house an inmate. These costs were borne solely by tax payers. On the other hand, the cost of placing someone on probation is passed directly on to the individual serving that probationary sentence. The judge can accomplish this enormous tax savings by imposing a probationary sentence and ordering the probationer to pay the “cost of his or her probation supervision.” In Pinellas County, this amounts to a $50.00 per month “cost of supervision” obligation on their part. In the same 2003-04 period, the total cost of supervision fees collected by felony probation officers alone was in excess of 25 million dollars.
Persons placed on Pinellas probation can benefit the public in other manners, as well. Our local judges can often be convinced to impose a probationary term in lieu of jail if the probation sentence has within it an obligation on the part of the defendant to perform community service hours. During the twelve month period between July 1, 2002 and June 30th, 2003 a total of 648,460 public service hours were completed by persons placed on probation supervision. Based on the current Federal minimum wage standard, this amounted to a cost savings of over three million dollars to the citizens of our state.
Suggesting a Pinellas probation sentence to the Judge that involves “making the victim whole” may be persuasive. If your offense occurred in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, or other area of Pinellas County and your conduct caused an out-of-pocket expense to another person, placing you on probation could afford you the opportunity to keep your job. Your continued employment, would of couse, better guarentee that restitution payments will be made to the victim. Pinellas Probation Officers utilize a computer system called the “Court Ordered Payment System (COPS)” to track monetary obligations, record receipt of payments and to process & forward checks to those persons entitled to reimbursement. The system works well and relieves the judge of all administrative tasks associated with your payment program.
If an addiction issue (alcohol or drugs) or a mental health problem (i.e. anger management or depression) contributed to the conduct that led to your arrest, these factors could support the further need for a probationary sentence – as opposed to jail. The Pinellas County Judge could be reminded that a sentence of incarceration would not address the underlying problem that might otherwise lead to your re-arrest on new charges. Our office has the appropriate professional contacts and associations in the St. Petersburg and Clearwater area to secure an expert evaluation of your problem before you see the judge. In many cases, our clients begin treatment or counseling even before they are sentenced. Judges may be less likely to sentence an individual to jail if he or she is already showing a positive approach toward rehabilitation through their voluntary participation in an ongoing course of addiction or mental health counseling.
A Pinellas probation sentence enables you to live with your family, continue with your current employment and to be a productive member of society. When someone is sentenced to a County Jail or State Prison sentence, everyone suffers…not just the Defendant. Tax payers must pay for the cost of housing the Defendant. Children may be forced to be raised by a single parent or a distant family member. Spouses are left without the financial support they have relied upon to meet obligations associated with food and housing. An employer’s business may suffer or co-workers may be inconvenienced when incarceration causes an individual to be unable to timely meet his employment obligations. A probationary sentence enables you to live with your family, continue with your current employment and most importantly, to be a productive member of society.
Our office will often work with a client to secure necessary documents that confirm his ongoing responsibilities and commitments to others. We may likewise encourage the preparation of a letter from his or her employer. Such a correspondence could reflect the true value of the employee to the business organization and how his incarceration would serve as a hardship to the business entity as a whole.
Going to the Pinellas County Jail or being incarcerated within the Florida State Prison System can obviously be an enormous disruption in the life of the accused, his family and his employer. Probation supervision provides a means to enforce conditions of release ordered by the court, such as those requiring persons to perform community service or pay restitution. This enables the accused to “pay-back” society. Supervision also protects the public interest by imposing conditions designed to benefit others (i.e. community service or restitution) and to rehabilitate the offender. Probationers are given a second chance. But at the same time, they are held accountable and are forced to comply with express and clear probationary conditions. They must meet financial obligations and of course, live without a new violation of the law.
Each year, the Pinellas County Salvation Army Correctional Services supervises over 10,000 individuals sentenced to misdemeanor probation. Likewise, at any given time, there are approximately 12,000 Pinellas County individuals being supervised by the Florida Department of Corrections for felony offenses. Most of our clients who are sentenced to serve probation are successful in completing their court ordered obligations. Many often enjoy the benefits associated with an early termination of probation for a job well done.
If you are interested in learning more about a probationary type sentence, we can discuss the facts and law surrounding your case. We can also examine your eligibility and recommend the necessary preparation for court.