Being granted probation instead of jail time following a criminal conviction can feel like a weight is lifted off your shoulders. Instead of going behind bars for a year or so, you get to stay in your home and neighborhood, living as you normally would – with a few stipulations.
The average probation will come with a few or all of these common condition requirements:
- Regular meetings with an appointed probation officer
- Answering any legal summons and appearing when necessary
- Completing other sentencing requirements, including paying fines and fees
- Staying away from designated areas, people, or groups (like gangs)
- Keeping within state borders, unless given permission from probation officer
- Not violating any law or receiving certain traffic tickets
- Avoiding intentional intoxication
- Submitting to drug or alcohol testing, which can be random
With all of these conditions in mind, it is clear to see how someone may inadvertently or unavoidably violate their probation. A person may need to miss a probation officer meeting in order to keep their employment. An individual labeled as someone who must be avoided could approach the person on probation, despite that being against their interests. The ways to potential violate probation and be sent behind bars goes on.
In order to avoid violating probation, you must always be aware of your situation and behaviors. Try not to engage with anyone you do not know or trust. Only partake in alcoholic beverages while in the safety and privacy of your own home. Be mindful of how you are operating your vehicle as to not violate any rules of the road. Encourage those around you to also keep your actions in mind; a true friend can help you realize when a situation is steering in the wrong direction and help you avoid it.
Of course, even with the best intentions and utmost carefulness, you could find that you have violated your probation. This does not mean that you will get tossed straight into jail. Instead, there will be a hearing to evaluate the situation and decide if you should be penalized. Prepare for this hearing and protect your rights with the help of the Law Offices of Joseph R. Donahue, LLC. Contact our Bergen County criminal defense lawyer to see what 20+ years of legal experience can do for you.