What Types of Probation are There?
What is Probation?
Basically, probation is a type of sentence that is available in lieu of jail time. It is usually made available to first time, non-violent offenders, in order that they may be allowed to remain living within their community and continue their daily functions.
Probation is typically used in conjunction with “parole”. Parole is similar to probation except it deals with supervision terms after the person has been released from jail or prison. Both probation and parole are issued according to the judge’s discretion.
What are some common types of probation?
Some types of probation that a judge will frequently order for a defendant are:
- Unsupervised probation: The offender will not be under the direct supervision of a probation officer. However, they are usually required to abide by general rules and laws, such as the ones involved in their charges. Unsupervised probation is generally only available for less serious crimes such as petty theft. It is also often known as “informal probation”.
- Supervised probation: This requires the person to periodically check in with their probation officer, in addition to following the prescribed rules. Check-in appointments may range from weekly visits to monthly telephone calls.
- Community Control: This is a more involved supervision scheme wherein the person’s activities and whereabouts are constantly monitored. House arrest and ankle monitoring devices are commonly employed in community control.
- Shock Probation: Involves the judge sentencing a maximum jail or prison sentence. After a short period of jail time, the judge will then release the offender in a standard probation program. The aim is to “shock” the person into complying with probation requirements.
- Crime-specific types: More serious offenses, such as drug offenses or sex offenses may require that the offender take additional steps such as obtaining counseling, rehabilitation, and placement on a local offender registry.
Another type of sentencing is known as diversion. Diversion is not technically a probation sentence. Rather, it is a treatment program that begins even before trial starts. If the offender completes the program successfully, they can often have the case dismissed and their record purged of the offense.
What are the consequences of violating probation?
Probation is similar to a contract in that the offender will be excused from jail time in exchange for a promise that they will follow certain rules and conditions. Any violation of these conditions may result in the probation being revoked.
For example, if the offender fails to attend a meeting with the probation officer, they may be in violation of their probation terms. Other common requirements are that the person maintain steady employment, or attend treatment programs.
Violations of probation terms may result in the probation terms being modified to reflect more strict conditions. More severe consequences may include having the probation revoked, and a reinstatement of the original jail or prison sentence that would have been prescribed for the crime.
Can violations of probation orders be appealed?
In some cases, violations of probation orders can be appealed. To determine whether you are eligible for an appeal, check with an attorney if you have violated probation terms.
Also, you should consult with an attorney if you are currently on probation and have personal issues that may present a conflict with probation terms. For example, if you are required to move out of your current jurisdiction due to employment, you should notify your probation officer. You may need to file a petition with the court to determine whether you may change residences.
Should I contact a lawyer if I have probation issues?
Probation has the potential to alter a person’s entire lifestyle and life decisions. Issues regarding probation are serious because they may have consequences such as reinstated jail time, or more strict probation terms. Working with a lawyer can help you make sure that your actions are within the bounds of probation terms. If you have recently been charged with a crime, a lawyer can determine whether you are eligible for probation.
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Last Modified: 05-11-2012 03:03 PM PDT
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