Probation is a sentencing alternative that is frequently used for defendants who are convicted of less serious criminal offenses and who appear to be good candidates for community supervision in lieu of incarceration. If you were recently sentenced to probation, and you successfully complete your term of probation, you can avoid returning to custody. Unfortunately, people frequently violate their probation, which then puts them at risk for returning to jail. Often, the violation is the result of the defendant not fully understanding the terms and conditions of his/her probation. Because every probation order is unique, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Tennessee criminal defense attorney to ensure that you have a clear and complete understanding of the terms and conditions of your probation. A Smyrna probation violations attorney at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby, however, has also offered to explain some of the most common terms and conditions of probation in an effort to help you avoid an unintentional violation.
Understanding exactly what probation is may be the best place to start. People frequently confuse probation and parole, or use the two terms interchangeably. They are not the same thing. Parole is a period of community supervision that follows a period of incarceration in a state or federal prison. Parole is supervised by the Board of Prisons. Probation, is also a period of community supervision; however, probation is ordered by the sentencing judge in lieu of, or in addition to, a period of incarceration in jail. Because probation is ordered by the sentencing judge, the court retains jurisdiction over a probationer throughout the term of probation.
Common Standard Conditions of Probation
A probation order typically includes both standard and special conditions of the defendant’s probation. Standard conditions are conditions that everyone sentenced to probation must follow, or comply with, while on probation. Examples of standard conditions of probation include:
- Reporting to a probation officer on a regular basis according to the schedule set by the officer.
- Maintaining employment or enrollment in school
- Not getting arrested while on probation
- Paying all court costs and fees
- Not consuming alcohol nor using drugs
Special Conditions of Probation
Special conditions of probation are not required to be part of your sentencing order; however, they frequently are included. Special conditions are tailored to your specific scenario, sometimes based on the instant offense or on your overall criminal history. For example, if you are convicted of domestic abuse in the instance case, you might be ordered to attend anger management counseling. If the judge sees a history of alcohol related crimes, you might be ordered to undergo testing for substance abuse. Some common examples of special conditions of probation include:
- Attendances at a class, such as anger management substance abuse classes
- Payment of restitution to a victim
- Having an evaluation done, such as a substance abuse evaluation or a mental health evaluation
- A “No contact order” that prohibits you from having any contact with someone
Both the standard and special conditions of your probation are part of the larger sentencing order imposed by the court. If the court has reason to believe you violated any of the conditions of your probation a court date will be set at which time the prosecutor will present evidence of your violation and you have the opportunity to present evidence of your own. A probation violation hearing is similar to a criminal trial but there are some differences. Ultimately, if the judge finds that you violated your probation the judge will decide what the consequences of that violation will be, including the possibility of returning to jail to serve the portion of your original sentence that was suspended
Contact A Smyrna Probation Violations Attorney
If you are currently facing a probation violation in Tennessee, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Smyrna criminal defense attorney at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.