Public service is often a condition of probation or community control for which individuals convicted of a felony or misdemeanor are placed. In representing our clients, our defense attorneys in Florida strive for complete exoneration; when such exoneration is not possible due to the particular facts of a given case, we aim at lessening the charges and/or the penalties. Many of our clients, as a part of their sentence, are placed on probation or community control, and many of them, as a condition of such probation or community control, engage in public service. Sometimes the public service is a requirement for a violation; for example, for a first DUI conviction, there is a requirement of 50 hours of public service. Subsection 948.031 of the Florida State Statutes discusses the specifics of the public service condition of such programs:
(1) Any person who is convicted of a felony or misdemeanor and who is placed on probation or into community control may be required as a condition of supervision to perform some type of public service for a tax-supported or tax-exempt entity, with the consent of such entity. Such public service shall be performed at a time other than during such person’s regular hours of employment.
(2) Upon the request of the chief judge of the circuit, the Department of Corrections shall establish a public service program for a county, which program may include, but shall not be limited to, any of the following types of public service:
(a) Maintenance work on any property or building owned or leased by any state, county, or municipality or any nonprofit organization or agency.
(b) Maintenance work on any state-owned, county-owned, or municipally owned road or highway.
(c) Landscaping or maintenance work in any state, county, or municipal park or recreation area.
(d) Work in any state, county, or municipal hospital or any developmental services institution or other nonprofit organization or agency.
As you can tell from reading the statute, the manner in which public service is carried-out can vary a great deal, depending on your particular case and the circumstances surrounding your arrest and conviction. Our criminal defense attorneys know, from decades of experience, that the hours invested in public service can count for much more than simply a completion of a requirement of probation and/or community service. In fact, the public service hours can serve as an alternative to jail time or a host of other penalties. Furthermore, these hours can be performed by the defendant before a sentence is handed down, thereby displaying remorse to the court; we often advise our clients to engage in preemptive public service as a means of both giving back to the community and showing repentance before the judge.
Our experience as former prosecutors means that we know the local judicial system and those who oversee it – the judges. Our criminal defense lawyers at Leifert & Leifert know that some judges will allow for a “buy-out” of the hours at a rate of $10.00 per hour. For example, for a first-time DUI offense, which requires 50 hours of public service, some judges will allow for an additional monetary penalty in the amount of $500.00 in lieu of the 50 public service hours.
At the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert, we have decades of experience in helping clients fight charges and navigate their way through complex sentences; we have handled thousands of cases just like yours and we know how to help you. If you’ve been arrested for or charged with a felony or misdemeanor in Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade County, contact us to schedule a free consultation.