Violation of a Probation Could Lead You to Imprisonment
Video Transcribed: My name is Stuart Ericson. I am an attorney in Wagoner. Today we’re talking about just simply probation.
When somebody says, “Hey, I got probation,” what does that mean or can I get probation? What does that mean? Well, number one, generally it means you’re not going to jail, you’re not going to prison. People want probation because it does not require a prison sentence or a jail term. Probation is for a set period of time. Probations generally are for one year, three years, or five years. In certain circumstances, they could be longer, so it’s for a set period of time. Probation can be supervised or unsupervised. If you have supervised probation, it could be with the Department of Corrections where you have a probation officer. You check in monthly and give your status updates. Some probations can be through the district attorney’s office, DA supervision. There are some community sentencing probations, and then some are unsupervised where you simply… You’re on probation for a period of time and you don’t have to report to anybody.
Now, the main goal you want to achieve with probation, of course, is not to violate it. The major violation would be committing a new crime. Let’s go back again on probation. Let’s say you get probation. Probation comes with conditions. Of course, the main condition is not to commit a new crime, but other conditions may be to pay back restitution for a certain amount of money over a certain amount of time. Some conditions might be to attend a rehab program or to attend AA meetings once a week, go to a DUI school, attend a victim impact panel, get a drug and alcohol assessment, and then follow the recommendation. Again, probation comes with conditions. It’s for a certain amount of time, and you’ll want to complete that and be successful with that.
Not complying with your probation is when you get a violation report that’s sent to the DA’s office. Then all of a sudden you get an application to revoke or accelerate your probation, which means maybe they shouldn’t be on probation, maybe they should just go to jail. Again, that kicks in a bench warrant for your arrest, a court appearance, getting an attorney, working something out, or having a hearing to defend yourself.
Probation, the most important thing if you’re a person that’s going to get probation is knowing exactly what you need to do. Of course, another big part is paying your fines and costs and supervision fees. A lot of times you’ll have multiple places to make payments. Your probation fees will go to DOC or to the DA’s office. Your fines and court costs, you’ll pay those at the courthouse with the clerk. You’ll set up a payment plan so that you have to know what is required of you and in what time period, what timeframe, and do your best.
Now, another important thing is if you mess up a little bit or get behind on payments or fail to do something, the best thing to do is to call your probation officer and try to work it out. Say, “Hey, here’s why I haven’t paid my fines, or here’s why I haven’t paid my supervision fee or attended a DUI school. I call, I get a busy number, I don’t know where to go do it.” The worst thing to do is to not do what’s required of you and just go dark and not make any phone calls and just wait until they send a violation report out. Be proactive, work with it, and try to get this stuff done.
If there’s a problem, reach out to fix the problem. That is the best thing you can do because the main thing you want to do, of course, is successfully on probation and then get that off your back. In some cases, you can get cases dismissed and expunged. There are ways to do that. Those are on some other videos.
If you have questions about what is probation, and how it works, reach out to me, Stuart Ericson, a probation lawyer in Oklahoma, at wagonerlawyer.com.