In the United States, 1 in 55 adults have been on probation. There are 4.5 million people currently on probation or parole. Asking “how does probation work” is important.
There’s a good chance you or someone close to you will find themselves on probation at some point in their life. Let’s break down the basics of probation so you’ll have an idea of what to expect if you receive probation.
What Is Probation For?
Most of the people on probation are on it because of a misdemeanor offense. This can be something like a DUI or even disorderly conduct. Probation is a chance to show that you can be a responsible citizen without the need for jail time.
Probation often comes with other penalties, such as community service. Often these penalties must finish before the probation period ends. If a significant amount of both the fines and community service are taken care of, some states allow early termination of probation.
If you or someone you know is on probation, you’ll be meeting with a Probation Officer on a regular basis. This is a person who gets assigned to you by the state and will oversee your probation. They ensure compliance with the rules and regulations of the probation.
The probation officer will be able to answer questions and should help a person get through the probation process. They are also responsible for reporting if a person is violating probation and referring them to the court for further sentencing. The probation officer has a lot of power and authority.
Some probation officers go to school for their careers, but many come from diverse and different backgrounds. A lot of how your probation will go depends on the probation officer and your relationship with them. It is in your best interest to get along with your probation officer.
What to Expect?
Being sentenced to probation is a lesser sentence than jail time. You can still have a job and do a lot of normal activities. There are things that you can’t do, and if you do, they will result in further sanctions up to and including jail time.
In most states, there will be a probation drug test administered. This is regardless of the offense that you committed. It is also possible that you will be drug tested many times or every time you go to see your probation officer.
In most states, you can also get called to your probation officer without any warning. This can occur for surprise drug tests or because they want to make sure you’re staying in the area. It is important to make sure that your employer knows that you’re on probation and could get called away.
Probation and Your Job
When it comes down to it, both of these are important and have some competition between them. In the end, you have to abide by the rules of your probation. For most people, that will include a provision that you must have employment.
The problem comes in when your probation and your job are at odds. Make sure that your boss knows that you’re on probation and that you may be required to attend certain meetings and classes. This is important because losing your job could be grounds for a violation.
It’s not only you and your boss that are involved, so make sure your probation officer knows too. Some may want to know what your schedule is, and they could show up at your work. They may also contact your employer and find out how you are doing at your job.
To complete probation, you must avoid getting any probation violations. There are varying degrees of violations, but it's best to avoid having any at all. If you’re wondering, "how does probation work," it works by forcing compliance via a system of violations and punishment.
This means that if you violate the terms of your probation, you could end up in jail. The judge may also increase the amount of time that you are on probation. Violating probation could also result in added community service or other penalties at the judge’s discretion.
A lot of this will depend on what state you are in and the specific terms of your individual probation. No matter where you live, there are some basic tips that will help you avoid trouble with your probation.
Tips for Probation
The first tip is that you should avoid doing any drugs, legal or illegal. Anything that could show up on a drug test could result in a violation. Make sure to inform your probation officer of any medications you’re taking, and if necessary, you might need a doctor’s note.
Don’t drink alcohol while on probation, even if your violation has nothing to do with it. Being able to drive and attend meetings and classes is vital. In most cases being drunk will be considered a violation of your probation and could result in you being put in jail.
It is important that you remain where you’re supposed to be. Don’t leave town or the county without speaking to your probation officer. They will want to know where you are at all times, and if they can’t find you, it will result in a probation violation.
Do not argue or fight with your probation officer. When it comes down to who they are going to believe, the judge will side with the probation officer in almost every case. Fighting with a probation officer is like fighting with a police officer, no matter if you’re right or wrong, you’ll go to jail.
How Does Probation Work
The ins and outs of probation can change depending on the charge, the judge, and the state that you live in. Make sure that if you, or someone you know, is going on probation, the rules are clear and understood. Ask questions if you need to, no one starts off with the knowledge of how does probation work.
If you need any information about an inmate in county or city jail, contact us.