Lindsay Lohan appeared in a Los Angeles courtroom again yesterday to answer to charges that she violated her probation stemming from a jewelry theft in 2011 in addition to the crimes alleged to have been the basis for her probation violation. Lohan currently faces charges for reckless driving, lying to police and obstructing police stemming from her claim that she was not behind the wheel of her car when it crashed into a truck in Santa Monica, California this past June. Lohan, who seemingly has been in and out of trouble since she’s been old enough to say “trouble” was at one time doubtful for attending her mandatory court date. Lohan, who recently fired her long time Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Shawn Holley had a letter submitted by her current attorney Mark Heller indicating that she was in poor health and wasn’t able to attend her hearing. It is thought that because several tabloids published pictures of her shopping over the past weekend and appearing in good health that Lohan changed her mind and elected to attend her hearing for fear of a warrant being issued for her arrest.
All States being a little bit different in their handling of criminal matters, were Lohan’s legal issues in Florida I don’t believe there would be an issue of whether or not she is going to appear in court consistently. In Florida if one is put on probation they are always subject to violating such probation by not complying with the requirements found in Florida Statute 948.03. Generally if they violate that probation through a technical violation a “no bond” warrant will be issued or if they violate by committing new crime amounting to arrest they will go to jail with a bond on their new case but no bond on the violation of probation. Since Lohan is accused of violating her 2011 probation by a new law violation, had this happened in Florida it is doubtful Lohan would have been granted a bond considering her inability to avoid getting in trouble while on probation. As a Tampa criminal attorney I can say that in our area if one had the track record of Ms. Lohan and was in a similar situation as her, I cannot think of any of our local Tampa Bay area criminal judges who would be willing to give her a bond.
With the above in mind she would likely be held until her March 18th trial involving the new crimes of reckless driving, lying to police and obstructing police. For the new crimes the State would have to prove her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt at a trial before a jury unless the State certified that no jail would be requested. In other words, the State would have to show that there just isn’t any other reasonably explanation for the actions in question other than what they have alleged. That’s a very high burden. As for the violations of probation, in Florida the State must only prove those allegations alleged in an affidavit of violation by a preponderance of the evidence standard. Conversely to beyond a reasonable doubt, a preponderance of the evidence standard can be described as a tip of the scale in favor of one over the other, no matter how slight. With that in mind Lohan could win her trial on her new charges and get slammed on her violation of probation simply due to a lower legal standard.
In situations like these it isn’t unheard of for a Judge to see what happens in the new law criminal case and rule in some accord on the violation of probation. An example would be a new charge of domestic battery while the defendant is on probation. If the State drops the domestic battery or loses at trial, often Judges will dismiss the violation of probation. Alternatively “wrap deals” can often be worked out between your Tampa criminal lawyer and the State allowing for one punishment for both the new cases and the violation of probation and often for a better resolution than if the cases were resolved individually. Time will tell for LiLo. Knowing on a surface level her past I have to believe at some point she’s going to encounter a Judge that won’t let her continue to slide through with minor slaps on the wrist. Maybe that happens on March 18, maybe it doesn’t!
As a general tip, if you find yourself charged with a new crime that violates your existing probation, do not post bond on the new charge when you have no bond on your violation of probation. Good Tampa criminal attorneys know this will cause you, as the client, to lose gain time on the new charge. It may be worth a shot to move the Court for a bond on the violation and if granted, you can post bond across the board and get out of jail while your charges are pending. Otherwise, posting a bond while having no bond status on other charges is useless.
Jason Mayberry is a Federal and State criminal lawyer practicing in the Tampa Bay area. If you’re in need of a Tampa criminal attorney, contact us at 813-444-7435.