Probation and Your Responsibilities

Quick Tips: Probation and Your Responsibilities

By: Devon Jones

Tip #1: What is probation and its intended purpose?
Probation, unlike parole is often granted by a judge and can be negotiated by an experienced attorney. Probation is generally granted for individuals with a minimal criminal background and those who commit less-severe crimes. While on probation the defendant is bound to a specific set of rules and regulations outlined by the judge that they are required to follow if they want to avoid violating the terms of their probation and get sentenced to serve time in jail/prison. The ultimate goal of probation is to reintegrate the defendant into society as law-abiding citizens.

Tip #2: What are some of the common conditions that can be attached to an individual’s probation order?
•Curfews, not being able to leave a home after a certain time at night
•Random urinalysis for drug testing or alcohol screening
•Regular meetings with probation officer
•No criminal activity or criminal association while on probation
•Drug/alcohol treatment
•Electronic monitoring
•Payment of fines and court costs
•Community service

Tip #3: How does an individual avoid violating probation?
The first and maybe the most important step in successfully completing your probation is cooperating with your probation officer as they are the ones involved with reporting on your progress and how thoroughly you follow the terms of your probation. It would be to your benefit to fully understand the rules and regulations required by your probation sentence and make the best effort to abide by them. In the state of New Jersey a copy of these rules and regulations is provided for the defendant to ensure that they are made aware of requirements that they must meet as a part of their probation sentence. The defendant is also required to sign a joint statement with their probation officer ensuring that he or she knows of the requirements of their probation and stating the officer’s observance of the probation and its requirements.

Tip #4: What are some of your responsibilities while on probation?
In New Jersey, 2C:45-1 outlines the conditions of probation. According to the New Jersey Statute, as part of a probation sentence defendants may be subjected to a variety of different rules that if broken will result in probation violation and mandatory time served in jail/prison. Some of the requirement include but are not limited to, the defendant being required to support his/her dependents/family, find employment, go to medical or psychiatric treatment and stay in such facilities if required and maintain a course of education or vocational training. In addition, most defendants must remain within the jurisdiction of the court and notify their probation officer of any changes in address or employment.
Tip #5: What if I am charged with a probation violation?
Defendants who are on probation have often found themselves facing charges for violating the terms of their probation. Violations might include the use and or possession of drugs, alcohol and other related substances or a failed drug or alcohol test. An attorney experienced in probation violations can help you make the right decisions when it comes to making a plea or avoiding some of the harsher penalties that you might incur. Ultimately, having an attorney on your side for legal representation can help you to successfully reduce the some of the strict punishments that can affect your rights and freedoms.


Source: O’Davis, James. “What Will Happen If I Violate My Probation.” N.p 12, Aug 2015 Web. 31, Aug 2012.