In the criminal justice system, probation violations are widespread. When a person commits or is accused of committing another crime, the State frequently uses a violation of probation as leverage. A contempt of probation hearing has a considerably lower burden of proof than a regular case. As a result, it is a simple way for the government to retain a person in the system.
But what exactly is probation? While you should always review the specifics of your probation with your probation officer, these are the fundamentals of the sentence.
What is Probation?
Probation is a restriction placed by the judicial system. When a person is found guilty of a crime, they are sentenced to probation. Probation allows a person to remain in their community as long as they are overseen by a probation officer. However, probation is not an option for every violation; some criminals go to jail or prison without ever being offered probation.
Probation is typically provided for non-violent, minor offenses. It is given to first-time offenders, children, and those who do not pose a risk to public safety. When a judge convicts a criminal to probation, the judge generally suspends the defendant’s jail or prison term and conditions the suspension on the defendant completing specific criteria. The prospect of imprisonment looms over the defendant’s head throughout the term of probation.
Conditions for Probation
If probation is granted, defendants must agree to follow the probation restrictions imposed by the judge. Probation requirements must be reasonable concerning the probationer’s rehabilitation or public protection. The objective is twofold: To prevent a recurrence of the offense and to bar the perpetrator from associating with other criminals.
First, the court will establish what constitutes “home” for probation. It may be your home or apartment building. This might be a problem if you live with someone who has a criminal record or if you’ve been convicted of domestic violence. A judge may order you to attend a treatment center, group home, or another sort of facility in some situations.
The following are typical probation conditions:
- Observe all laws,
- Report to a probation officer as instructed,
- Pay all court-ordered fines, fees, and restitution,
- Maintain work, school, or vocational training, and
- Refrain from using or possessing illicit substances or weapons
Probation supervision can come in a variety of forms. Probationers who are on formal probation must report to probation officials in person, by mail, or by phone as ordered. In most cases, monitoring departments are run by state and county government entities. A few states use private probation businesses to oversee probationers and check compliance.
Informal probationers do not have probation officers. When required, they report directly to the court to give proof of compliance with conditions, pay fines and fees, change contact information, or record a new arrest or conviction.
In case you’re facing a sentence involving probation, it is recommended that you consult your lawyer about the process in your county or state. Ask a lawyer for clarification if you have any questions regarding a probation requirement. Autrey Law Firm has the best expert attorneys to give you the right advice in a criminal law case.