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Completing Probation

Surviving and Completing Probation
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Probation is your first step to freedom. You may have just completed a jail sentence and are now required to go through probation, or a judge may have sentenced you to probation as an alternative to jail. In either scenario, it’s important to take the right steps towards completing probation so that you can move on with your life and stay on the right track.  As a Criminal Defense Law Firm, we have the knowledge necessary to help you survive your probation.





6 Steps to Surviving and Completing Probation​

If you’re on probation, you’re not alone. In 2016, an estimated 2% of U.S. adults (1 in 55) were on parole or probation. Completing your sentence doesn’t have to be complicated. If you follow the rules and stay out of trouble, you should be able to get through your sentence with relative ease.

1. Report to Your Probation Officer

First, it’s important to remember that you’re on probation and that you’re being monitored by your probation officer. You will be required to report to your probation officer regularly. This meeting is an opportunity for you to discuss any issues you may be having, and to ensure that you’re on the right track. Even if you are struggling, you still want to keep in contact with your probation officer. Often times keeping in touch will keep you out of trouble, even if you are struggling to complete other conditions.

2. Follow the Rules

There are certain rules and special conditions that you’ll have to meet while on probation. Failing to follow the rules or complete these special conditions may result in a violation of probation.

Violating the terms of your probation will only keep you in the system longer. 

Here are some important rules to remember:

  • You’re not allowed to leave your state without informing your probation officer.
  • You may be required to be home during certain hours of the day (except for work or religious obligations).
  • You’re not allowed to have any contact with anyone you’ve committed a crime with, or with any victims of your crimes. If you’re unsure whether or not you’ve committed a crime with someone, it’s best to avoid contact.

In addition, usually, you’re not allowed to possess any firearms, or to consume alcohol or drugs. If you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, you may be required to participate in an addiction treatment program.

If you violate the terms of your probation, you could end up in jail – without a trial. You should do everything you can to avoid this situation.

If you’re unable to avoid violating the terms of your probation, then do everything you can to get back on track. Participate in an alternative sentencing program, and try your best to do everything you’re required to do.

3. Stay Out of Trouble

It may sound like an obvious requirement, but it’s important to avoid committing any crimes while you’re on probation – that can include traffic offenses.

Make sure that you don’t do anything to jeopardize your probation. Stay out of trouble, don’t associate with criminals, and don’t commit any new crimes. Avoid temptation by staying away from people who might influence you to break the law.


4. Stay on Good Terms with Your Probation Officer 

Build a good relationship with your probation officer. Show respect, and you will get respect in return.

  • Go to your appointments with your probation officer on time.
  • Don’t miss any meetings.
  • Keep your probation officer informed about your whereabouts and activities.

Maintaining a good relationship with your probation officer will make it easier and less stressful to get through your sentence.

5. Stay Clean

Staying out of trouble also means staying clean. Don’t drink or use drugs, and don’t carry any weapons. It’s also a good idea to stay away from people who may be using drugs or alcohol.

Avoid temptation altogether by keeping good company. Surround yourself with people who are already on the right track.

If you’re struggling with addiction, this can be one of the most challenging parts of probation. However, failure to follow the no-drugs/no-alcohol rule could cost you your freedom. Attending an addiction treatment program can help you get through this difficult stage.

6. Pay Your Dues, and Keep Records

As part of your probation, you may be required to pay court fees and meet other special conditions. Make sure that you’re keeping up on these payments and keeping records of everything you’re doing to follow the rules.

  • Pay your court-ordered fines, restitution, and child support.
  • If you’re required to participate in a drug treatment program, take it seriously and complete it.

Make sure that you document everything: payments made, classes attended, community service hours, etc. Do not rely on your probation officer, or the place where you are working, to keep these records for you.

If you slip up, don’t give up. You may be able to catch up on your probation requirements by participating in an alternative sentencing program.

The most important thing to remember about probation is that it’s not a permanent sentence, but a way for you to get back to the life you once had. If you’re willing to do the work, then probation will be a stepping stone to your freedom.

Don’t Let One Wrong Decision Impact Your Life, Job or Freedom.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does probation mean you were convicted?

The only way a judge can put someone on probation (either after or in lieu of a jail sentence) is if they were found guilty. This means that they were convicted by a jury, or they plead guilty to charges against them. Sometimes people are put on probation as part of a deferred sentence, but that still requires them to enter a plea of guilty first.

Can probation be reduced for good behavior?

It is possible to get a probationary period shortened. This is entirely up to the judge and your probation officer as to whether it will be granted. But if someone has followed their probation perfectly, they could petition the court or talk to their PO in order to attempt to receive a shortened probation. Sometimes instead of shortening probation, your PO will recommend placing you on unsupervised probation so that you just have to stay out of trouble for the remaining time and do not have to keep reporting to probation.

What happens when you finish probation?

Once a probationary period is over, the probationer will no longer be required to stick to the terms of their probation (such as checking in with their probation officer). If someone does not successfully complete their probation, however, the court can choose to extend the period of probation or impose jail or prison time if the person continues to fail at probation.

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