The National Trial Lawyers
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An Overview of Community Control

I want to talk to you a little bit about community control. It is Florida’s toughest supervision program. It is not easy. I’m not even happy to recommend it, but the fact is, its better than prison and its really a next step down from incarceration.

We used to call it “home confinement”. And, it is just that. You have, on community control, you are confined to your home. Now, the way you get out of your home is, every week you must meet with your community control officer. And they have a little schedule for you. And you fill out that schedule and they have to approve it. You don’t get to just tell them what you’re doing. They have to approve what you’re going to do next week.

An Overview of Community ControlHere’s what they’re going to approve almost always: work, school, church, and medical. Those are the four things that they’re probably going to approve. But, you’d be surprised how much flack you get sometimes. Anyway, if you say you’re going to be at work from 9 to 5, you better be at from 9 to 5. They should be able to go to your work and check on you from that 9 to 5 to make sure you’re there. And, they may be waiting on your doorstep at 5:01 to make sure you’ve arrived at home on time and you may have handcuffs at 5:15 or 5:30 if you don’t arrive home when you said you were going to be there. This is why I don’t like this program, it is very strict. And, I mean, who can drive I-4, who can drive around Orlando and get anywhere on time religiously. It is very difficult to do. They don’t care. They really don’t.

Secondly, there’s another level of community control, you have Level 1 and Level 2. I just described Level 1. Level 2 is the same thing but with a GPS monitor wrapped around your ankle. Ok, I know that the GPS on your phone has been perfected or on your car. But the government’s GPS that they put on your ankle–it sucks. It doesn’t work. You are constantly having to go outside and try to get a signal from the air, come back in, and its violation nightmare.

But, again, if you have to do it you have to do it. Sometimes you have no other choice and beats the alternative. The success rate on community control is horrendous. About 80-something percent of the people who are on community control fail. Imagine trying to sell that program to somebody, that 80-something percent of the people who are on it will be in handcuffs and will be violated. That’s not, um, one of the judge’s here in Orange County used to call it the “Early DOC Entry program”. It really is almost a ticket to prison if you’re not careful. If you’re one of the lucky 12 or 15% that can do it, that’s fine.

We attorneys, we know the tricks of the trade so to speak. We will counsel you thru. We’ve seen enough violations of community control to be able to tell you “look, here’s how they violate, here’s how you stay the path.”

What you should do is get with your attorney at the half way point, because most judges will terminate community control and convert it to probation once you’ve completed half your term. You can only get a maximum of two years community control. The law doesn’t allow for any more than two years. The law knows how tough this is. So, if you get two years you might get a year of it, like half it, converted to probation if you’re good for the first year.

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