If you’ve been convicted of a crime and now face time on probation,
you need to understand what probation really means to you. Probation is
simply the suspension of a jail sentence; that means that instead of spending
your time in jail, you can live in your home, stay in your community and
participate in the actions approved by the courts.
There are certain court-ordered rules that you will have to follow. You
will have a probation officer that you have to speak to regularly to make
sure you’re following the law as required. Your time on probation
will be determined by the courts, but it typically lasts up to three years.
There are a number of conditions of probation that you’ll have to
follow. Yours may vary, but some that are often used include meeting with
your probation officer at regular intervals and at set times, going to
court for appearances when required, avoiding going to restricted places
or avoiding the people you aren’t allowed to see according to the
court order. Typically, you can’t travel out of state without approval
from your probation officer, which means you can’t take trips that
aren’t approved. You may also have to submit drug or alcohol tests
If you violate probation, then you may have to spend time in jail, have
an extended period of probation or even have your probation revoked. You
could have to face heavier probation terms, like wearing an ankle tracker
or be forced to pay large fines.
Because of the varied options available to the courts, you need to have
someone on your side when these decisions are made. Make sure you protect
your best interests and know your legal options.