If you are currently serving probation, you may be wondering what to do
to stay clean in the eyes of the law. Further legal trouble while on probation
could lead to jail time, extended probation, or added charges. While most
probation officers aren’t nit-picky enough to send the D.A. a letter
over a parking ticket, it’s good to know the do’s and don’t
when on probation.
While on probation, an offender agrees to have no further violations against
the state. This means that even a minor ticket or arrest could lead to
the court imposing the original charges or jail time as well as punishment
for the minor offense.
Don’t commit an offense against the state
An offense against the state can be as simple as a parking violation. While
it is unlikely and very seldom heard of that a probation officer will
report a defendant for such a minor charge, it technically still counts
as an offense. More serious charges, usually class Bmisdemeanors and above, will usually result in a probation officer requesting a revoke
of probation. In the event that an event against the state is committed,
no matter how minor, always notify your attorney to avoid being sent to trial.
Do take all required classes and fulfill service requirements
The specific hours of community service required under your probation are
designed to be completely fulfilled in order to be in good standing with
the court. So by missing a designated course or not completing several
hours of community service, you put yourself at risk for a notification
you have violated probation. Carefully follow all directions regarding
fines to be paid, classes to be completed, and service to be performed.
Do not fail a drug test
Obviously, the best way to pass a drug test is to not engage in the use
of illegal substances. Not passing a drug test is probably the most surefire
way to get your probation officer to realize you are violating the terms
of the agreement.
Do not contact prohibited parties
Many probation orders also come with a clause saying the defendant cannot
contact or visit another third-party. Visiting certain people, going to
restricted locations, or leaving the state can result in an immediate
violation if reported. If you must go to a specific location that seems
questionable, get permission from your probation officer first.
Probation revocation hearing
If a probation violation is reported, the court will likely call for the
defendant to appear in a probation revocation hearing. If the new offense
is an additional crime, the revocation hearing will likely occur after
sentencing of the new crime. The burden of proof for a revocation hearing
is less than that of a trial, and there only needs to be sufficient evidence
that a violation occurred to get probation revoked. The best thing to
do is avoid partaking in activities that may signal trouble because the
prosecutor only needs to convince the judge that violation
probably took place.
Remember, if you do commit an offense or violate your probation order in
some way, the best thing to do is let your attorney know. He or she can
properly advise you about whether or not you actions may result in a probation
revocation and what to do if so.