What Are Common Conditions of Probation?


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In criminal proceedings, a person may be given probation. This punishment may be given instead of or in addition to jail time or other criminal consequences. Often, there are a set of conditions that a person must meet when on probation. If the defendant does not comply with these conditions, he or she may be subject to additional punishments.

These punishments may include having probation revoked and receiving the full sentence that he or she would have received if he or she was not given probation. For example, if a judge sentenced a person to one year in jail and two years on probation, the defendant may be required to serve two additional years in jail. If the judge suspended a sentence of three yearsí imprisonment and a personís probation is revoked, he or she may be required to serve the three-year term.

The specific conditions of probation vary from case to case. However, many states have standard conditions that they apply to nearly every offender. There may also be additional conditions that are imposed by the court based on the specifics of the crime or after the defendant has been professionally assessed to determine his or her risk to the community or his or her rehabilitative needs.

Payment of Fees

It is common for individuals who are given probation to be required to pay probation fees. Additionally, he or she may be responsible for the payment of other fees, such as fees for services of which he or she is provided, a fee to a victimís fund or restitution for the crime that he or she committed that is paid to the victim.

Abstain from the Use of Drugs or Alcohol

It is also common for individuals who are on probation to be required from using drugs or alcohol. This condition may be imposed even when the underlying crime did not involve drugs or alcohol. A probation officer may be permitted to test the individual on probation for drugs or alcohol every time that he or she meets with the individual, or random testing may be provided as a condition of probation.

Attend Drug Counseling, Rehab or Other Drug or Alcohol Treatment

If drugs or alcohol contributed to the criminal activity, the individual may be required to attend some type of counseling or treatment program. A probation officer may first give an evaluation to the individual to determine his or her level of need for these services. He or she may be required to participate in programs that the probation officer or other professionals involved in his or her conditions recommends.

Maintain Employment

Another condition of probation may be to maintain gainful employment or be enrolled in school or a training program.

Permit Visits

In addition to the person on probation likely being required to periodically visit the probation officer on a schedule established by the probation officer, the person on probation may also be required to permit the probation officer to visit him or her. This may include visits to his or her residence and place of work. Additionally, the probation officer may be able to conduct warrantless searches in these locations.

Complete Sex Offender Treatment

A person who is charged with a sex crime or who has a history of sex crimes may be required to complete a sex offender treatment program. He or she may be required to register as a sex offender. He or she may even be required to submit to a polygraph test as required by law enforcement.

Complete a Mental Health Evaluation

The person on probation may also be required to complete a mental health evaluation. He or she may be required to attend counseling or take part in other services as a result of this evaluation. Additionally, he or she may need to take a needs and risk assessment and take part in other services as determined by this assessment.

Obey All Laws

The person on probation will have to obey all city, state and federal laws. He or she may be prohibited from being around certain people or places associated with criminal activity.
Travel Restrictions

Individuals who are on probation are often ordered not to leave the state without express or written permission from their probation officer. The person on probation may also have to explicitly waive extradition if they flee the state.

Contact a Lawyer for Assistance

If you would like to know what conditions you are agreeing to before accepting probation or the potential consequences of a violation, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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