This guide intends to provide information to those on probation who wish to successfully complete probation. Remember, "technical" violations are still violations and you can be sent to jail or prison even for a "technical" violation.
Report to Probation
The most important thing you should do while on probation is report to probation and keep regular contact with your probation officer. This sounds like an obvious requirement to probation but many probation violations are for people simply never reporting to probation. You can almost guarantee no reinstatement will be available if you fail to report to probation.
Complete your Conditions of Probation
Complete your special conditions of probation. These are usually community service hours and various programs designed to educate the probationer like Drug and Alcohol Treatment programs, Impulse Control Classes for theft and other similar programs. These conditions were agreed upon when accepting the plea offer. They must be completed to avoid a violation of probation.
Avoid Criminal Activity
This should be obvious but avoid criminal activity. One of the worst things you can do while being given a second chance is to commit a new crime. Judges and prosecutors rarely give leniency for probationers who are arrested for new law violations.
Have a Good Relationship with your Probation Officer
Create a good relationship with your probation officer. The more respect you give to your probation officer, the greater your relationship should be. Having a good relationship with your probation officer will allow you to get more leeway.
Refrain from Drugs and/or Alcohol
Refrain from the use of any recreational drugs or from consuming alcohol to the point of impairment. Although this can be difficult for those with addiction problems, no drug is worth losing your freedom and going to jail or prison. If you've been ordered not to drink alcohol then you should not consume alcohol. Again, alcohol should not send you to jail or prison.
Keep your receipts, attendance logs or other documentation. Do not rely on your probation officer to keep all your records for you. If you keep good documentation of payment, attendance to programs and completion of community service hours, any potential dispute with your probation officer will be easily resolved.
Keep Good Company
Choose your friends wisely and remember you are on probation. Your friend that wants to smoke weed isn't going to go to jail for you when you fail your drug test. Associating with criminal activity can be considered a violation of probation so walk away from situations that put you at risk of appearing to be associating with family or friends that want to engage in illegal behavior.
Keep or Maintain Employment
Keep or gain employment. This will help pass the time and pay your court costs and probation costs. It's also usually a condition of probation to be employed or actively seeking employment.
Pay Your Court Costs
Pay your court costs. While one of the more forgiveable violations of probation, it is still a violation to not pay costs associated with probation or court.
Petition to Terminate Probation Early
Finally, if you were able to follow the first 9 steps of this guide, you should petition the court to terminate probation early. Most courts require more than 50% of your probation period to be completed prior to petitioning for early termination. Having the court granting your termination early saves you money from paying probation and also reduces the chance of violating probation. Seek the help of an attorney if you aren't comfortable or unsure of the options you have.
Additional resources provided by the author
*Disclaimer* - Nothing in this guide is intended to create an attorney-client privilege between the author and the reader. If you wish to create an attorney-client privilege with the author, contact SerranoLaw PLLC.
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