Either jail time or probation is ordered in the vast majority of cases that are in the system. “Most of the time” would be the answer to that question. What differs from case to case is how long the probation is, how intense the probation is, what you have to do while you’re on it, and how often you have to report. These factors can vary quite widely from case to case and judge to judge.
What Are the General Age Groups and the Types of Offenses that Generally Will Carry a Probation Versus Strict Jail Time?
Almost every offense that’s punishable by jail will result in probation if there is no jail time. The exception could be relatively minor things like maybe driving while license is suspended, if it’s a first offense or a “no operator’s license on person,” if it’s a first offense or maybe a disorderly conduct. Certain types of misdemeanors where the incident that occurred really wasn’t that bad and the person, their history really isn’t that bad.
Sometimes, we’re able to talk to judges to just a fine or some other minor sanction that doesn’t require supervision and probation. Generally speaking, if you’re talking about a crime like drunk driving, domestic violence, possession of drugs, assault and battery, any of that, there’s almost always going to be a probation term absent extenuating circumstances.
Are Probation Officers Generally Helpful towards the Client or Do they Have a Negative Attitude?
Every probation officer is different and you’ll find also that the different courts have different attitudes about probation. Some are trying to be more supportive of people and others are trying to punish and to be very strict. A lot of probation officers take the opinion and the approach that what every defendant needs is real kick in the butt and to be held to a very high standard of accountability.
It is really important that a client knows what they’re dealing with in their particular probation department so that they know whether that person is on their side or against them because some definitely come off as if they’re against the defendant and they don’t believe anything the defendant says and they want harsh penalties for the defendant. Others are not that way, but it’s really a case by case basis and you won’t know it until you’re in it. That’s why you’ve got to be careful all along.
Can Someone Petition the Courts to have a Probation Officer Changed?
It does happen sometimes, but it’s difficult because the judges work with these probation officers all the time and they really try to have their back. Unless there’s something really unusual going on, the judge doesn’t want to change the probation officers because they really don’t want to open that door and have people start coming in asking for new probation officers every time they have a problem. There are a lot of problems that are difficult to sort out and it’s difficult for the judge to decide who’s telling the truth. The court really doesn’t want to get into that issue very often.
Can the Court be Petitioned for Early Termination of Probation?
We have been successful a number of times in getting probation terminated early or reduced or modifying certain conditions. In order to be successful, usually you want to have some reason. For example, you’re applying for a new job and you might be able to get that job except for they don’t want to hire somebody who is on probation because they don’t want to spend the money and time training somebody who might end up going to jail and may not be available to work.
In some situations like that, we’ve been able to get the court to decide if the client had done enough and had been successful and terminated them early so that they could move on to a better phase in their life. A lot depends upon the particular reason for terminating early. If you’re just sick or going to testing, then no they probably won’t terminate you but if you have a good legitimate reason, then it’s definitely worth looking into.
Will An Employer be Notified that His Employee is on Probation?
Typically when you’re on probation, they will not notify your employer. They like to see some proof of employment because usually being employed is one of your requirements of probation. If you can produce a check stub or something like that, that usually satisfies them and they’re not going to bother your employer. They don’t want you to lose your job but they want you to have a job.
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