What Is Probation?

What should you expect while on probation? Be sure to understand what is expected of you so that you don’t end up back in jail.

Probation is a court-ordered sanction allowing a convicted offender to return to their community while being monitored for certain behaviors. Sometimes probation is offered in lieu of jail time, but it can also follow time served as a means of shortening the overall time spent detained. A person serving probation will be assigned a probation officer to oversee their case and monitor their behavior. Any deviation from the conditions of their probation could result in jail time.

What can I Not Do On Probation?

The conditions of probation are different in every case but often involve staying away from guns or alcohol, certain persons, or being confined to a certain area under monitoring by an ankle monitoring device. Regardless of what your particular restrictions are, it is important to adhere to them strictly so as not to incur jail time. Regular visits with a probation officer are required to confirm that you are meeting your probation guidelines and surprise visits from an officer at your residence may occur. 

What Does a Probation Officer Do?

Your probation officer will monitor your conduct and report their findings to the courts. They may visit you in your home, with or without warning, to administer drug tests or alcohol screenings. But your probation officer is not trying to catch you slipping up, they are there to assist in your rehabilitation as well. An officer can help reduce sources of risk to offend from your home and life and can get you in touch with vital services to assist you. Your probation officer wants to see you succeed and meet all of the court-ordered guidelines, so work with them to get what you need to be successful.

Hopefully you will never see the inside of a jail cell, but if you ever find yourself getting booked for an offense, you’ll definitely want to know the fastest way to get out of jail.