Probation: What Can You Expect?
What is Probation? Probation is essentially an alternative punishment to spending time in jail upon conviction for a crime. Probation is especially common in misdemeanor cases, but also sometimes a viable option even in felony matters as well. Terms of probation can vary from court to court and judge to judge, but some elements are fairly common and can be expected in most circumstances.
Probation can be reporting or non-reporting. Non-reporting probation means you will not be required to have regular contact with your probation officer and less will be expected of you as you complete your term of probation. Reporting probation, however, is much more common. Reporting probation means you must meet with your probation officer once or month or more, or sometimes less. Reporting probation often includes requirements to test for drugs and alcohol, to prove that you are staying as “clean” as the court wishes you to be. Oftentimes, judges may even disallow the use of marijuana, even with a medical prescription for same. Testing can be required as little as once a month or as often as several times a week. Depending on the nature of the criminal conviction, probation may also require classes, meetings, therapy, and the like, to prove to the probation department and the court itself that you are bettering yourself and capable of staying out of trouble in the future.
Probation oftentimes is not easy! Some parties find they are not good candidates for probation and do better to serve a short term of jail and move on with their lives, if at all possible. However, probation gives people an opportunity to show they can improve while not incarcerated and a chance to put past wrongdoing behind them and move forward again as productive citizens. If you have questions about probation or any other criminal matter, give us a call today!