A Look at Typical Conditions of Probation
Almost every single criminal case involves some type of probation – and, with jail overcrowding and movement towards Evidence-based sentencing, probation is a very popular option for the courts. While most people think they know the basics of probation, our firm phone rings off the hook with defendant’s on the other end complaining they didn’t fully understand the conditions of their probation. While most of those defendants were read the conditions of their probation by their attorney, judge, or probation officer, they still seem to miss many important details. Considering that probation is a stayed or suspended jail sentence, any violation of it can result in the full back up of that suspended time in jail, and the state’s burden to prove a violation is so low, it’s no wonder so many people call our office in a panic.
As such, we thought it prudent to take a second an write a blog on some of the typical conditions of probation. Below is an extensive list, but by no means exhaustive. Each court, each county, each judge, and each state has differing conditions of probation. However, this list is a good starting point for discussions with clients.
REPORTING TO PROBATION: Most courts require that defendant’s check in with their probation officer as often as the probation officer sees fit. Most courts also require that a defendant report any contact with police (whether good or bad) within 24 hours as well. Finally, most courts require you to contact probation if you have any change of address and/or employment as well.
NO NEW ARRESTS/CASES: While this seems obvious, this is very common reason for probation violations. And, given it only takes probable cause for a new arrest, it is not required that a defendant be proven guilty of the new offense — the arrest, alone, is enough.
TRAVEL/LEAVE TIME: Most courts require defendants to request permission to leave the state of Indiana — in some occasions, defendants are required to request permission to leave the county. Typically, if you are granted permission to leave, you must waive extradition if you are arrested outside of state in which you are on probation.
EMPLOYMENT/SCHOOLING: Most courts require a defendant to have or seek employment while on probation. Additionally, some courts require defendants to continue schooling or work towards their GED or equivalent while on probation as well.
HOME VISITS & RULES: Most courts require defendants to waive their 4th Amendment against search an seizure of their homes. In so doing, they most have an open door policy with probation — meaning they can come in at any time. As a condition of probation almost all courts require that the defendant’s home be free of alcohol, drugs, and guns/weapons.
DRUGS & ALCOHOL: Every court forbids use of alcohol (unless specifically precluded) and drugs while on probation. This also includes prescription medicines that are not prescribed by a licensed physician and specifically prescribed by the defendant’s doctor. The 4th amendment waiver also includes the right for probation to drug test the defendant by any means (hair, urine, blood, etc.) with little notice. Any attempt to dilute the sample and/or any missed test are both considered automatic violations. j
FINES & FEES: Most courts require the defendant to pay fines and fees through probation — this also includes ordering the defendant to pay for any programs they plan to use. While failure to pay cannot be the basis for a violation of probation, it can upset the court.
SPECIAL CONDITIONS: While many of the things listed above and in this paragraph can be included as a condition of the plea agreement, judges also tend to have great latitude in requiring defendants to do additional things while on probation. This can include anything listed above plus things like: substance abuse evaluation and treatment, getting a license to drive, paying restitution to victims, requiring curfews, ordering community corrections, demanding enrolling or continuing schooling/classes, signing no contact/protective orders, decreeing the defendant have no contact with other defendants, etc.
As anyone can see, there are a ton of requirements while on probation. It isn’t mean to be a walk in the park, and the courts try everything in their power to ensure defendant’s comply with their orders. So, if you or a loved one is facing a probation, call the experienced former prosecutors at Banks & Brower, LLC a call today. We have the experience to get you through any situation you are facing. Give us a call 24/7/ 365 at 317.870.019 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.