What is probation?

Probation Paperwork With a GavelProbation may be part of your sentence after you are convicted of a crime or you enter a plea agreement. When you are on probation you are not in jail, but you must comply with the terms of your probation and not commit any crimes.

Probation Rules

Terms of probation vary from case to case, but there is one thing that is always the same: you must comply with the terms of your probation. If you fail to comply with your probation rules, then you could end up facing additional consequences such as jail time or fines.

The specific conditions of your probation may include:

  • Community service work
  • Not using any illegal drugs
  • Not contacting the victim of the crime for which you were sentenced
  • Maintaining regular contact with your probation officer
  • Not possessing a firearm
  • Keeping steady employment
  • Staying in Virginia

Your Virginia criminal defense lawyer will explain all of your probation rules to you.

Probation Officers

Virginia probation officers have specific legal duties. These duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Investigating and reporting on any case referred by a judge or court
  • Providing the probationer (the person on probation) with a written statement about the conditions of probation and instructing the person about those conditions
  • Supervising and assisting probationers and helping them get into substance abuse treatment programs, if appropriate
  • Arresting and recommitting a probationer to jail if the terms of probation are violated
  • Ordering and conducting drug and alcohol screening tests if the probation officer has reason to believe the probationer is engaged in the illegal use of controlled substances or marijuana, or abusing alcohol

Probation officers must also keep records, make reports, and perform other duties as required.

Think About Probation Long Before Sentencing

In many cases, probation is preferable to jail. However, probation is still a criminal sentence. Whether or not you violate the terms of probation, you could still face significant and long-term consequences because of your criminal record.

Accordingly, we encourage you to contact our Virginia criminal defense lawyers as soon as you are accused of a crime, or even before that if you think that you may be charged with a crime. Let us investigate your case and build a defense strategy to protect your rights. You can begin right now by calling our Fairfax criminal defense law firm for a free consultation.