What is Probation?

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What is Probation?

Probation is a legal punishment often given to first-time, non-violent offenders who plead guilty to or are convicted of a crime.  Probation allows for eligible offenders to minimize jail time by complying with certain rules and conditions imposed by the court.  The terms and length of probation can vary from case to case and are contingent on following all of the prescribed terms while not committing additional crimes.  Violating the terms of probation can land a defendant in jail, sometimes up to the maximum jail sentence allowed by the law.  Criminal defense lawyers will usually seek probation whenever possible to keep their clients from serving time behind bars.

There are two main types of probation: summary probation and formal probation.  Summary probation is more common for crimes considered less serious and does not have supervisory requirements.  Formal probation is for more serious crimes and felonies and requires regular meetings with a probation officer.  Formal probation is more restrictive than summary probation.  Both forms of probation are conditional, and typical conditions of probation can include:

  • Attending court appearances
  • Community service
  • Not committing additional crimes
  • Not meeting with certain individuals or groups
  • Not visiting certain locations
  • Obtaining permission before traveling out of the state
  • Abstaining from drugs and/or alcohol
  • Being tested for drugs and/or alcohol
  • Attending substance abuse prevention programs
  • Restitution

The terms of probation are typically specific to the circumstance of the crime, with defendants needing to agree to stop any actions that could lead to a repeat of the crime.  Defendants charged with DUI will likely be required to attend substance abuse programs but will not likely be prevented from meeting with certain groups as a part of their probation.  Terms of probation need to be adhered to for the length of the probation period.

If the judge determines that the terms of probation were not kept, punishment can result in additional terms of probation, extended length of the probation period, fines, and the revocation of probation, which may land a defendant in jail.  Criminal defense attorneys can assist defendants at revocation hearings.

Defendants facing a potential jail sentence can reduce their time behind bars by seeking probation.  As every situation is unique, it is impossible to tell whether or not any individual charge with a crime will receive probation.  The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth’s team of criminal defense attorneys work on our clients’ behalf to pursue the best options for everyone.  We can help you seek probation, meet the requirements of probation, and even advocate for early release under the right circumstances.  For a free legal defense consultation, call us today at 888-517-9888.

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