Probation Rules

Probation Rules
If you are one of the many individuals who are put on probation each year, you may be relieved by your punishment. After all, anything is better than jail, right? While a probation sentence certainly seems more lenient that other criminal penalties—such as expensive fines and incarceration—it is important for you to be aware of the numerous probation rules that go along with your punishment, as well as the consequences for breaking them.

The exact rules of your probation will vary based on the laws in your area, as well as the nature of your crime. Fines, community service, mandatory counseling, and completion of a drug or alcohol education program are some of the most common probation requirements. However, in addition to any specific guidelines the judge requires, there are also a number of basic guidelines that you can expect to follow.

First and foremost, the judge who sentences you will most likely assign a probation officer to your case. To make sure you are abiding by the guidelines of your probation, you may be required to meet with your assigned officer regularly. Depending on your original offense, your probation officer may also require regular blood or urine tests to ensure you are not abusing alcohol and/or drugs.

In addition to checking in regularly, your probation rules may also require you to notify your probation officer before moving or changing jobs. You may even have to get his or her permission if you want to travel to another state.

You should also check with your probation officer to learn about any limitations as far as employment goes—in some areas, for example, a person on probation is not allowed to provide care for children or the elderly. Similarly, someone who is convicted of a sexual offense may be prohibited from working with the opposite sex.

So what happens if you fail to abide by one or more of your probation guidelines? Well, based on your probation officer’s discretion, you could be given a minor slap on the wrist (also known as a warning) or, if he or she feels further punishment is warranted, a judge may make the final ruling at your probation violation hearing.

If you are found guilty of violating your probation, you may be placed on probation for a longer period of time or the judge may impose additional guidelines for your probation. In some cases, your probation could even be revoked entirely and the remainder of your sentence may be spent behind bars.

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