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How Does Probation Work?

The possibility of going to jail is the biggest concern for most people charged with serious crimes. Being convicted of a crime and having a sentence with jail time imposed is frightening and life-changing. Your freedoms are eliminated and, while in jail, you are required to adhere to a strict set of rules and policies. Being incarcerated usually eliminates your ability to work and provide for your family, and upon release, it can make employment difficult to find. For these reasons, probation is an acceptable alternative for many people.

Typically, while on probation, you are allowed to work and have minimal freedom to travel, but probation does involve a strict set of rules that must be followed. The probationary term can also be revoked and you can be sent to jail. Because probation allows you to maintain some semblance of your normal life, it is a desirable option. It is important to understand the terms of probation and to be sure the terms negotiated fit your life. A skilled criminal defense attorney can negotiate for favorable probationary terms and make sure you understand those terms.

Probation is typically supervised and usually at the discretion of the court. Factors considered when making a determination as to whether someone is eligible for probation include:

  • Whether the crime charged is your first or a repeat offense
  • The severity of the crime
  • The possibility of rehabilitation and reentering society
  • Whether you are considered likely to flee

The statistics show a great number of people currently on probation. It is important to remember that while on probation you must follow all the terms and conditions. In most cases, this means you are required to maintain employment and check in with your probation officer. You are also not allowed to possess firearms and must keep a clean arrest record and perhaps abide by a curfew. If any of the terms of probation are violated, the court can revoke the probation and send you to jail. Probation offers you some freedoms while taking steps toward rehabilitation and the ultimate goal of not committing new crimes.

If you have been charged with a crime and wish to negotiate probation or parole, or if you have been charged with a probation or parole violation, call to schedule a consultation with a criminal defense lawyer.

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