Frequently Asked Questions About Probation
Being accused of a criminal offense can lead to serious consequences. Many individuals are given a probation sentence instead of jail time. Probation occurs when an individual’s jail sentence is suspended, allowing them to remain in their community. However, if you are on probation, there will be certain court-ordered rules and regulations that you must follow, and you will be under the supervision of a probation officer. If everything works out, the case goes away, with no jail time
Some of the terms and conditions of your probation may include:
- Community service hours
- Meeting regularly with your probation officer
- Refraining from drug and alcohol use and submitting to drug or alcohol testing
- Making all of your court appearances
- Paying fines or restitution to the victims of your crime
- Following all laws and avoiding arrest
- Not traveling out of the state without permission
- Completing court-ordered programs
- Avoiding certain people and places
Our Connecticut probation attorneys at The Sills Law Firm know that, many times, probation is the best option for our clients. Through carefully planned tactics and negotiation, we can work to help you avoid the loss of your freedom and serve your punishment as an active member of the community. During our 20+ years of combined experience, we have guided countless individuals through probation. Below are some common questions we answer for our clients regarding probation.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PAROLE AND PROBATION?
Parole is what is given to already incarcerated individuals who are released early under supervision. If someone violates the terms of their parole, they can be incarcerated again, usually without a hearing. Those on probation do go through the court process if they violate the terms of their probation order. Probation only applies after conviction if a person pleads guilty or was convicted at trial.
HOW DOES THE JUDGE DECIDE TO OFFER PROBATION?
Some factors judges consider when deciding to offer probation include lack of previous criminal record, the non-violent nature of the offense, the person’s medical condition, professional status, and family situation. They will generally compare what the person will lose by being incarcerated against the need to protect society at large.
WHAT ARE SOME TYPICAL CONDITIONS OF PROBATION?
Some conditions of probation can include alcohol and drug testing, along with counseling or treatment. If there is a mental health concern, community service may be ordered. In a case involving any loss of money to an individual, restitution of that money can also be a part of the probation. Probation may also include a prohibition on the probationer having contact with whoever was victimized by the offense.
Any special conditions of probation will be ordered by a judge and are tailored to each specific case, and would go along with standard conditions like not being arrested while on probation, or not being allowed to leave the state without getting permission from the probation officer, keeping the probation officer informed of their whereabouts, and allowing the probation officer to meet with them or search their person or residence with reasonable cause to do so. In felony cases, the probationer may be monitored through GPS.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT LEVELS OF PROBATION?
Yes, there are different levels of probation. Misdemeanor probation is shorter than the probationary period for a felony offense and has fewer requirements. The Department of Probation determines the kind of probation a person will get by considering the seriousness of the offense, the person’s previous record, and whether there was a victim.
HOW LONG DOES THE PROBATIONARY PERIOD LAST?
Your probationary period may last anywhere from months to years, depending on the type of conviction. During this time, you must follow all the conditions of your probation. If the conditions are violated, you could face a warning from the probation officer or something more severe, such as revoked probation and jail time, fines, additional probation, and more.
DOES PROBATION AUTOMATICALLY INCLUDE COMMUNITY SERVICE?
Community service isn’t automatically included in a probation order. It is left to the discretion of the judge. In DUI cases, community service will be ordered if the offender did not serve jail time. First time DUI offenders serve a minimum of two days in jail or if suspended by a judge, serve 100 hours of community service.
CAN I TRAVEL OUT OF STATE WHILE ON PROBATION?
A probationer can travel with a travel permit from his or her probation officer. The probation officer must know the person’s itinerary, dates of travel, and location. This is so that the probation officer can get a hold of the probationer.
I VIOLATED THE TERMS OF MY PROBATION. CAN A CONNECTICUT CRIMINAL LAWYER HELP?
If you have violated the terms of your probation, it is absolutely essential that you retain legal representation. Violation of the terms of your probation is considered a new criminal offense and you may be sentenced to jail. We can attend your probation hearing in an effort to secure the most favorable outcome possible. We may be able to reinstate your probation instead of having to serve a jail sentence.
CAN PROBATION BE CUT SHORT FOR GOOD BEHAVIOR?
Yes. A motion to terminate or modify probation can be filed if the probationer has done very well. A probation officer may also file a motion for early termination, which is why a person’s rapport with his or her probation officer is so important.
CAN PROBATION AVOID HAVING A CONVICTION ON MY RECORD?
No. A probation order is a sentence that results from a conviction or guilty plea. In the state of Connecticut, there are many pretrial diversionary programs that exist that can help individuals avoid having a criminal conviction appear on their records. Individuals sentenced to probation have already gone through diversionary programs, which makes them ineligible for a certain status that would allow dismissal of the charges and removal of the conviction
Contact The Sills Law Firm to Learn More
Our dedicated legal team would be happy to further explain probation and what you can expect from the criminal process. With our help, you can avoid violating your probation terms so that you can move past this difficult experience. Let us help you get your life back on track.
PLEASE CONTACT US TODAY TO SPEAK WITH OUR CONNECTICUT PROBATION LAWYERS.