Probation Violations in Miami often Result in Serious Risk of Jail or Prison

The saga of former NFL star Barret Robbins is a cautionary about the importance of consulting an experienced Miami criminal defense lawyer when dealing with probation violations in Miami-Dade or elsewhere in South Florida.

The Miami Herald reports the former Raider star’s latest legal problems have led to 5 years in prison for a Miami-Dade probation violation stemming from a Texas arrest for cocaine possession.

The truth of the matter is that it is not unusual for a defendant who is experienced with the criminal justice system to elect to serve time behind bars rather than to try and comply with the terms and conditions of probation. It’s worth noting that all of Lindsay Lohan’s legal problems stem from probation violations following a 2007 drunk driving arrest.

Unfortunately, many times a defendant — particularly those with little or no experience with the system — will quickly jump at a chance for a sentencing option that avoids jail time in favor of probation. An experienced Miami defense attorney should always be consulted to fight for probation requirements that a defendant can meet and to work to make sure there are not issues at the time of sentencing that are likely to result in future legal problems. The requirements of probation can be extremely invasive. You may be subjected to warrantless search and seizure at anytime; drug and alcohol testing are standard, and you may be required to avoid contact with certain individuals, including relatives and children, which can impact where you may work, live or spend time.

Most importantly, the time you avoided spending in jail is left hanging over your head — meaning a relatively minor charge can result in the very real threat of spending years behind bars.

In this case Robbins was halfway across the country when he was arrested on the drug charge. He had been on probation since a 2005 scuffle with Miami Beach police officers, during which he was shot twice. He was able to negotiate a “withhold of adjudication,” which left him without a criminal record in exchange for completing five years probation on the charges of battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting an officer with violence. Twice he has been called before the court on probation violations, including once for a positive drug test.

In Feb. 2010 he was pulled over in Dallas and was found in possession of a crack pipe. He served 146 days in jail in Texas and then faced this week’s probation violation hearing in South Florida.

His comment to a reporter while being fingerprinted for jail:

“I’m happy to have a resolution,” he said. “It’s kind of a relief to be honest with you.”