The idea of spending any amount of time behind bars is scary. That is why so many criminal defendants negotiate a plea and agree to go on probation. The point of probation is that if you are successful you receive the benefit of your bargain, which in many cases includes a reduction of the charges at the end of the probationary term. This is an attractive option for a multitude of criminal defendants because it can keep harmful convictions off of their record and allow them to maintain their freedom while serving their sentence.
In order to qualify for probation you do have to meet certain requirements. The two keys to being put on probation include the following:
- You cannot have any prior convictions on your record.
- You cannot have been previously charged with a felony.
Another key requirement that is present in most cases, but not all, is that you are a first time offender. That is not to say subsequent offenders are not eligible for probation, but the terms may be stricter and reaching terms that work could be more difficult than if you are a first time offender. Once on probation it is crucial that you follow all of the rules and do not make any mistakes. One misstep can land you back in court, facing not only a charge of probation violation but also the full weight of the original charges against you. Common probationary terms include mandatory attendance in drug or alcohol school, especially for DUI cases, and some sort of community service. You might also have to check in periodically with a probation officer and it is always a requirement that any fines and costs be paid. If you have questions about probation or what it takes to have a successful probationary term, call our office.
For help with criminal defense, call a competent criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast for help. We offer representation for a wide range of offenses, call us to schedule an appointment.