When a person is charged with a crime a common resolution is to enter a plea and go on probation. For many this choice works well, because it gives the defendant the opportunity to continue working and stay out of jail. But for others the terms of probation are unclear or difficult to follow, and the end result is a probation violation. Violating probation is a new crime in and of itself, and it must be defended separately from the original charges. In order to stay the course and make it through to the end of your probation successfully, it is helpful to know some of the dos and do not’s about probation.
Probation is a form of punishment that allows an accused to stay out of jail, and after a certain amount of time has passed the charges filed are either dismissed or reduced. This is confusing for some, because probation is not necessarily a get out of jail free card. If you do not follow the rules, you may wind up in jail despite your best efforts to avoid incarceration. Three other things probation is NOT are:
- Probation is not simple, most sentence include the requirement that the defendant perform community service and/or attend rehabilitation or educational courses related to the crime charged. This can be hard for many people to do and careful planning and organization of your schedule is required to stay on track.
- Probation is not something to take lightly, it is a serious undertaking and should be given your full effort. If you “blow it off”, you are more likely to commit a violation and face additional charges.
- Probation is not a free pass to do whatever you want, you will be required to check in with a probation officer and provide information about where you live and work. If you are unemployed, don’t plan on staying that way for long. A common requirement of probation is that you maintain employment, and provide your employer’s information to your probation officer so they know your whereabouts.
Something as small as missing an appointment with your probation officer can result in a probation violation, so it is important to be clear on what is expected of you. We can help by negotiating terms that fit your lifestyle, and by providing you clear directions on what to do. But, we understand mistakes happen, and when they do we can help with those as well. If you have been charged with a crime or with a probation violation and want to know more, call us for answers to your questions.
If you have questions about probation and probation violations, call a competent criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast for help. Call us to schedule an appointment.