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What to Do if You Are On Probation

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.

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