When you go to court for a criminal charge, you might expect that you will go to jail if the crime is severe or if you have a lengthy criminal history. However, there are times that the judge could give you probation instead of sending you to jail. The length of probation is usually comparable to the time that you would spend in jail. However, you will be able to be at home with your family so that you can keep a job, take classes to better your life and to have a chance to prove that you can stay out of trouble until your probation period is over. If you are given a jail sentence that is a short time compared to being on probation, then you can request that you complete your sentence. This usually doesn’t happen that often as most people are ready and willing to accpet a probation sentence instead of spending time in jail. One of the things to keep in mind is that if you violate your probation, then you could serve your jail sentence anyway.
There are several conditions that you will likely have to follow when you are placed on probation. Not everyone has to follow the same conditions as the terms are dependent on your history and the nature of the crime that you committed. Conditions can also vary by each state, some having harsher requirements than others. This is another factor that you want to consider before accepting the probation sentence. You might not be ready to submit to visiting your probation officer or taking drug tests on a regular basis, so completing your jail time might be the best option.
There are various types of probation. One is supervised. This is where you will have a probation officer come to the home to check on you usually once a day in the evening. The officer might not come by all the time, but you can almost guarantee that there will be a couple visits each week. You will also need to visit the office at least once a month so that the officer can make sure you’re still working and staying out of trouble. Intense probation is where you will need to be home by a certain time and be subject to visits at any time of the evening or even at night. There are more requirements for this level of probation.
With any kind of probation, the judge will usually set the requirements that you have to meet before you are taken off the sentence early or before your probation is completed after the designated length of time. Most people who are on probation have to pay a monthly fee to the officer. Not paying the fee is one of the common reasons that a probation officer will violate someone, which could result in going to jail. You will likely have to submit to at least three drug tests while on probation. Some states only make those who have drug charges submit to drug testing. Drug classes are sometimes ordered. You might have to take some kind of anger management class or a therapy class depending on the reason you were in court.
One of the conditions is to keep a job. You might be required to take educational classes in order to make it easier to get a job or provide proof that you’re completing applications. Some judges will require you to stay away from certain people or places if they relate to your charges. If you are on a strict probation period, then you usually can’t leave the state. Some officers won’t let you leave the county unless you check in with the officer first.