If you’ve been sentenced to probation, you might be relieved that you didn’t have to serve any time in jail. But probation can also be quite restrictive and take away many freedoms that you’re used to having.
It might be difficult to understand the lengthy terms and conditions of your probation. But if you don’t fully comprehend what you can and cannot do, you could be at risk for violating your probation and end up in jail – even though you were originally able to avoid that sentence.
Depending on the nature of your crime and your history, the conditions of your probation might be different from another offender’s conditions. The court is allowed to determine any terms of your probation that they feel are necessary for you to lead a law-abiding life.
The regular probation standards include:
- Committing no other crimes
- Staying within the court’s jurisdiction unless you have permission to leave
- Reporting to your probation officer
- Making sure your probation officer knows where you are
- Paying child support or other family obligations
- Not possessing a firearm, explosive, or deadly weapon without permission
- Paying a supervision fee of $40 per month
- Having a steady job or pursuing education classes or vocational training that will assist in getting a job
- Pay court costs, fines, or restitution
- Attend and complete a treatment program if you committed domestic violence
- Submit to warrantless searches by your probation officer
- Not possessing or using any illegal drugs or a controlled substance unless you have a prescription
- Submit to drug tests
These are the conditions for regular, supervised probation. And as you can see, there are tons of rules you have to follow. Additionally, you may be on unsupervised probation or community and intermediate probation, which have their own special conditions that you have to abide by. And depending on your crime, you may have even more limiting conditions.
Break any of these rules and your probation officer can bring you in to court, where you could face additional consequences – including jail time.
North Carolina Easing Up on Some Probation Requirements
Even though probation violations are taken seriously, North Carolina has also recognized that missing a probation appointment isn’t the same kind of violation as committing another crime.
In 2011, criminal justice officials in North Carolina looked at the prison population and determined that over half of prison admissions were from people who had their probation revoked. Most of those offenders didn’t commit new crimes; they had simply broken a technical condition of their probation such as failing a drug test, not attending a treatment requirement, or missing a meeting with their probation officer.
In order to curb this increase in prison admissions, North Carolina has put a plan into place to assess every offender on both probation and parole to determine if they are at a high-risk or low-risk of committing a new crime. Low-risk offenders are held to more minimal probation standards while high-risk offenders will have more intense supervision.
This doesn’t mean that if you’re considered a low-risk offender that you can get away with more. It just means your probation will be less restrictive to ensure that you can successfully complete it.
Regardless, if you are on probation or have been accused of violating your probation, it is important that you get in contact with an experienced North Carolina defense attorney who will help you understand and fight for your rights.
About the Author:
Attorney?Mike Schlosser?represents victims of personal injury, those charged with a crime, as well as those facing traffic charges. A former Guilford County, North Carolina District Attorney, Schlosser has been in private practice at the?Law Firm of Schlosser & Pritchett?since 1983 and has been a member of the North Carolina State Bar since 1973.