Frequently Asked Questions About Probation Violation

Nationwide, more than 4 million people are on probation or parole, according to a report by The Pew Charitable Trusts. In Ohio alone, 1.9 million people have criminal records, according to the Ohio Justice and Policy Center.

Navigating parole and probation can be complicated and often confusing. These are some frequently asked questions about probation violations.

What is probation?

Probation is an alternative to incarceration and allows a person convicted of a crime to live in the community under court-ordered supervision for a determined amount of time. The amount of time you are on probation depends on the offense and laws of your state.

Who supervises an individual's probation?

Your probation sentence will be supervised or monitored by a probation officer. You will have to report to your parole officer as directed by the court in person, by mail, or by telephone. If you are on informal probation, you may not have to see a probation officer; instead, you will be required to make court appearances as directed by a judge to monitor your progress. Your criminal defense attorney will help you navigate the requirements of your probation.

How can an individual
violate their probation?

When you are on probation, you must follow a set of required rules as a condition of your release. Violating these rules means you violate your probation. These rules will be explained to you by your criminal defense attorney and may include:

  • Reporting to a probation officer regularly
  • Appearing at scheduled court appearances
  • Paying fines or restitution to victims
  • Staying away from certain people and places as determined by the court
  • Not traveling out of state without the permission of your probation officer
  • Obeying all laws, even the minor ones
  • Refraining from illegal drug use or excessive alcohol use
  • Submitting to regular drug or alcohol testing
  • Submitting to GPS tracking
  • Submitting a DNA sample
  • Submitting to warrantless searches without probable cause
  • Maintaining employment, school, or vocational training

What happens if I violate my probation?

If you violate the rules of your probation, it will be at the discretion of your probation officer to give you a warning or to require a probation hearing to be scheduled. If during the probation hearing the judge decides that you violated your probation you may face additional penalties including the revoking of your probation and a return to prison and fines. If you violate your probation you will need to contact a criminal defense attorney.


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