DeSantis vetoes bill easing penalties for low-risk probation violations

by | Jun 25, 2024

Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed a unanimously supported bill that would have required Florida courts to modify rather than revoke probation for certain offenders committing low-risk violations, citing concerns that it would provide excessive leniency to repeat offenders.

Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed legislation on Monday which sought to require Florida courts to modify rather than revoke probation for certain offenders who commit low-risk violations for a second time.

House Bill 1241 aimed to reform how probation violations are handled, focusing on technical violations that do not involve new felony, misdemeanor, or criminal traffic offenses. It proposed changes that would prevent incarceration for minor probation breaches and mandated that courts hold a hearing within 30 days of an arrest for a low-risk violation. If this deadline was missed, the offender would be released unless the delay was their fault.

The bill passed both the Florida House and Senate with unanimous support.

In his veto, DeSantis expressed concerns that the bill would provide excessive leniency to offenders who had failed to comply with conditions set by alternative sanctioning programs after a first violation. He argued that the bill would undermine the effectiveness of the state’s probation system by allowing repeat offenders to avoid more severe penalties.

“This effectively provides an extra, undue pass for probationers who were provided the opportunity to satisfy the terms of their probation through an alternative sanction program, and have already demonstrated that they are incapable of fulfilling their responsibility after a first violation,” the governor wrote in his veto transmission letter.


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