If a person accused of a criminal act has pleaded or was found guilty for doing a violation of the law, the court has to give an appropriate sentence for the person. Probation is one of them.
What is Probation?
Probation is a sanction ordered by the court. It allows the person who was found guilty of violating the law to stay in the community instead of going to jail. As good as it may sound for someone who thinks he has just escaped jail sentencing, a person on probation is not as free as he would think he is.
5 Things to Remember When on Probation
A person on probation is under the supervision of the court to make sure that the person is not back into causing any trouble to the society. Causing any trouble while on probation will do more harm to the probationer and his case. As such, it is important to remember these things while on probation.
- Know your probation conditions.
Probation is set to reach three primary goals:
- Rehabilitate the probationer.
- Set protection for the community from any further criminal conduct by the probationer.
- Protect the rights of the victims involved.
In order to achieve these goals, the judge sets various conditions that the probationer must comply with. Non-compliance with the said conditions may result to prison sentence or adding more restrictive conditions to the defendant’s existing probation.
- Meet with your Probation Officer (PO) at scheduled times.
The PO is the eye of the court. The court must ensure that releasing the defendant should not do any more harm to the community nor to the defendant himself. The PO is the one who makes sure that the probationer is not back into doing any trouble. He sees to it that he is complying with the conditions set by the court.
If a probationer has failed to comply with any of the conditions set by the court, it is the PO’s duty to inform the court about the violation. Additionally, travelling out of state should also be approved by the PO, otherwise it is considered a violation.
- Obey all laws.
All laws means all laws. Minor violations such as jaywalking or throwing trash where one is not supposed to is still considered an act against the law.
Do not use any controlled substance or alcohol. Most people on probation think that they can get away with things like this. Know that the PO and soon the court will always have a way of finding it out.
- Avoid people and places, as ordered by the court.
Sometimes, the court may include certain people that the probationer should not be in contact with. It must be understood that no contact means no contact. May it be a text message, a phone call, or an email, the probationer must not get in touch with the people he is not supposed to be in contact with.
Additionally, if the court also ordered the probationer to not be around certain places, he must avoid going to those places at all cost.
- Pay required fines or restitutions, and submit to any required substance testing.
Usually, the defendant is required to pay some financial obligations to fulfill the conditions on his probation. These obligations which require payments include criminal fines and court fees. They also include restitution, the payment by the offender to the harmed victim.
Not paying any of the financial obligations can sentence a probationer to jail time, or add more required fees to the existing fines. Additionally, save all the paperwork that you have accomplished. Once the probationer has paid any of his financial obligation, he must make sure that he keeps a proof.
If a probationer has failed to comply with any of the conditions set by the court, he must talk to his lawyer as soon as possible to know what his next steps should be.
Written by The VanMatre Law Firm, one of the top criminal defense attorneys in Columbia, MO.