From failing a drug test to skipping mandatory office appointments, there are various ways you can put your probation at risk. Depending on the type of probation, these violations can result in serious consequences—including jail or prison time. The following tips should help you increase the odds of avoiding violating probation and assist you in successfully completing your term of supervision:
Maintain A Good Relationship with Your Probation Officer (PO)
While on probation, your PO is your point of contact with the judge and the system. It is her or his job to ensure that you are complying with all of the Conditions of Probation that were given to you by the court. Some of these conditions include, but are not limited to, attending regular meetings with your PO, abstaining from the use of alcohol and drugs, finding and securing employment, paying your fine and court costs and other fees, completing community service hours and submitting to drug testing. Additionally, the judge may also order you to take classes or attend counseling sessions. In some cases, the court may order an in-patient drug rehab program or even jail time as a condition of probation. Whatever the court has ordered, all of the conditions must be followed; failure to comply with a condition can result in a violation. Because your PO will ultimately be the person who decides to start the revocation process, it is important to stay on his or her good side if you want to avoid violating probation.
Realize That You Must First Earn the Respect of Your PO
When you first start out on probation, your PO is likely not going to trust you.Do not take this personally; she or he is merely doing his or her job.You must build up a positive relationship with your PO.You must earn your PO’s trust.Most of them are good judges of character and will soon come to either trust you or watch you more closely.Work to earn their trust and you will find your time on probation will go much more smoothly.
Don’t Take Advantage of Leniency
Some probation officers choose to enforce certain Conditions of Probation more loosely than others. If your PO is strict and makes no room for mistakes, then you need to diligently follow her or his directions. However, if you have a lenient PO, don’t take advantage of her or his kindness. Most probation officers want to see you succeed; so for some, that means being more relaxed about particular conditions. For example, a court-imposed condition may state that your PO can visit your house or workplace at any time. A lenient PO may decided not to visit you without letting you know first, or may choose not to visit you at those places at all. Similarly, your PO may avoid in-person visits altogether by letting you check in with them via email or phone call. These acts of leniency can greatly reduce the strain of probation on you, and are not to be abused. When a PO is providing you with easier opportunities for success, violating probation under such light conditions can quickly result in a Motion to Revoke.
Separate Yourself From the Negative
When on probation, negative factors can seem more enticing simply because you know you cannot have them. Keeping yourself away from drugs, alcohol, certain people, and other elements that are weighing you down is crucial in successfully resisting temptation, and ultimately, living a healthier life. Removing those harmful aspects can increase your chances of completing probation and help you regain control of your life. When you are away from negative influeneces, it gives you a chance to focus your energy on more productive and beneficial activities. Common focuses can include finding a hobby, getting a job, or working on personal relationships. If you are struggling to escape the damaging elements, your PO is there to get you the help you need. In fact, they will likely appreciate and take note of your desire to better yourself.
Despite the best of intentions, we are still humans who make mistakes. If you or someone you know is facing charges for violating probation, contact us immediately. Together, we can build your defense and fight to save your probation, or, if necessary, reduce your charges and lessen your sentence.