Question: What is probation?
A: Probation is the suspension of a person’s jail sentence, which allows them to rejoin the community under the conditions of certain court-ordered rules. Common conditions of probation include:
- Performing community service
- Meetings with a probation officer
- No use of illegal drugs or excessive consumption of alcohol
- Avoiding contact with certain people
- Restriction from certain locations
- Appearing in court for requested dates and times
Question: How long can a person be put on probation?
A: The length of time a person is put on probation will depend on their particular criminal offense and the laws in their state. In general, probation can last between 1 to 10 years, though some convictions can last even longer.
Question: What are a few examples of probation terms?
A: People who have been placed on probation usually have to report to a probation officer and adhere to variety of conditions during the period they are on probation. Examples of probation terms include:
- Appearing at all scheduled court appearances
- Paying fines or restitution
- Attending regularly set meetings with a probation officer
- Restricted travel
- Compliance with existing laws regarding prohibited criminal behavior
- Mandatory submission to drug or alcohol testing
Probation terms are usually assessed based on the type of crime the person committed
Question: What will happen if a person violates the terms of their probation?
A: Probation violations occur when a person doesn’t follow the conditions laid out in their probation order. After a violation is discovered, the probation officer has the authority to issue a warning or force the person to attend a probation violation hearing. If a judge rules that the terms of the probation have been violated, they can impose additional probation terms, heavy fines, a revoked probation, jail time, or more.
Question: What rights do you have at a revocation hearing?
A: At a revocation hearing, the prosecuting attorney must present evidence to prove that the person accused of violating their probation committed the infraction. The person accused of the violation will also have the opportunity to present their own evidence and to refute the evidence brought against them. If you have been accused of violating the terms of your probation, you should immediately speak to an experienced attorney about how to defend your rights.
Question: What happens when probation is revoked?
A: Just because a person has their probation revoked, it does not necessarily mean they will automatically be sent to prison. There are a few sentencing options available for probation violations, including:
- Extra length being added to the probation
- Additional fines
- Mandatory counseling
- Enrollment in a treatment program
However, a judge can still order a person to serve time in jail or finish their original prison sentence.
Question: Can a person appeal a conviction for a probation violation?
A: Most states in the country allow people to appeal convictions for probation violations. If the court rules than an error was made in the decision, or that there isn’t enough credible evidence to support the conviction, the probation violation can be dismissed.
Contact our Rhode Island criminal defense attorneys to set up a free consultation. We are here to serve you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.