After a criminal conviction is handed down by a court, there is sometimes the possibility of receiving probation. Rather than having to spend time in a jail or prison, the convicted party is allowed to remain free. With the freedom comes certain stipulations in terms of behavior that will remain in place for whatever amount of time the judge designates. Those terms are often referred to as conditions of probation.
Understanding the Standard Conditions of Probation
Standard conditions or terms of probation has to do with restrictions and requirements that are likely to apply in just about any case. These form the foundation for how the convicted party will act in order to remain free for the entire probationary period. When and as the situation merits it, the court may require additional terms as allowed under current laws.
One of the more common examples of standard probationary conditions is choosing to not commit another illegal act for the entire probationary term. Ideally, probation is an opportunity to seek rehabilitation and make changes in attitude and action that draw the individual away from illegal activities. By choosing to observe the rule of law and make choices that are in compliance with those laws, the individual has an excellent chance of completing the probationary period without any unfortunate incidents.
Travel is also limited as a standard condition of probation. Depending on the nature of the conviction, the individual may not be allowed to leave the local jurisdiction under any circumstances. At other times, travel may be permitted if it is requested through a probationary officer and approved by the court in advance. For example, the individual would like to attend the funeral of a relative that is scheduled to take place in another state. By going through proper channels, it’s possible to obtain permission to leave the local jurisdiction for a specified period of time. Upon returning, the individual will check in with the probationary officer and confirm that the trip is completed.
Interaction with other people may be restricted or discouraged. This is especially true as it relates to involvement with people who may be engaged in illegal activities.
At all times, the individual will report to the probation officer according to the schedule approved by the court. Failure to do so could result in the revocation of probation.
How About Special Conditions of Probation?
Special conditions may apply in certain cases. In this scenario, the individual will observe all standard probationary conditions plus a few extra. Consenting to wearing a monitoring device is a good example. Devices of this type are especially helpful in terms of confirming the individual is not visiting any venue that the court has expressly forbid. For example, if the individual is under house arrest and can only leave the premises in the company of a court-appointed supervisor, the monitor ensures that this condition of probation is observed.
Periodic tests for substance abuse may also be part of the special conditions ordered by the court. The tests are often random and serve to confirm that the individual is observing the court’s order to avoid the use of illegal substances. In conjunction with the testing, the individual may be ordered to participate in drug rehabilitation classes that are approved by the court. Ongoing counseling for substance abuse, anger issues, and any other factors that contributed to the past actions of the person may be part of the overall probationary requirements.
Formal education is sometimes one of the special conditions related to the probation. If the criminal never completed high school, one of the requirements may be to enroll in night classes or take online classes in preparation for seeking a GED. Once the GED is obtained, proof is submitted to the court and that condition of probation is considered fulfilled.
Probation ultimately serves two purposes. One is to protect society from the commission of more criminal acts by the individual. The other is to rehabilitate the criminal and provide the opportunity for a fresh start. Choosing to comply with all the conditions of probation improves the odds of serving the time ordered by the court, putting the matter in the past where it belongs, and building a better life.
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