When one is convicted of committing a crime, and/or pleads guilty, they can face time in prison depending upon the severity of the crime. In addition to fines and imprisonment, courts can also impose a probation sentence. Some people suggest that probation is the better alternative, but, in reality, it is not all that easy to comply with because of the number of restrictions and rules to follow. Failing to follow the probation rules results in strict penalties. Probation is the way for a convict to avoid jail time while remaining in society by following the imposed rules and restrictions. The probationer must complete their probation period in line with the conditions and impositions set on them.
Probations are mostly supervised by a probation officer, although in very rare cases, they might also be unsupervised.
Conditions of a Probation and Violations
Courts have broad categories and discretion for the conditions placed on a probationer depending upon the severity of the crime committed. These conditions are typical as follows:
- Compensation – when the crime committed causes monetary damage to the victim, the court will usually impose a restitution or compensation condition as part of the probation. This will require the probationer to recompense the victim for the damages caused depending on the crime.
- Probation reporting – in most supervised probations, probationers are mandated to report to their court-assigned probation officer. The probation officer keeps track of the entire probation duration, conditions, and location.
- Drug testing – probationers have to go through regular drug tests. They will mostly be held at random, especially in cases where the crime committed included drugs and/or alcohol.
- Community service – the court might require the probationer to complete numbered hours of community service at an organization that benefits the community as a whole.
- Employment – the probationer has to retain their job during the period of probation, especially if the crime committed by them has caused monetary damage to the victim or if they need to compensate due to other harm caused to the victim.
- Criminal record – once placed under probation, the probationer has to be very careful not to get involved in any other crime, small or big. This is because it is considered an instant violation of probation and can have severe repercussions.
- Random checks – those placed under probation can be subject to random searches by their probation officer. Probationers are not protected by the fourth amendment like non-probationers are against random searches.
Violations and revocation If a probationer violates any of the conditions imposed on them, their probation officer or prosecutor can revoke the probation and schedule a revocation hearing. It is important to note that not all kinds of violations will necessarily lead to a revocation. Depending on the severity of the violation, the court could modify the conditions and demand you comply with those new terms. You can also receive an extension to your probation for up to five years or in the worst-case scenario, find you in contempt and mandate you to serve jail time for up to a month.