Instead of serving time behind bars, some situations have the right circumstances in which a person may seek probation.
Considering that New Jersey had approximately 120,000 people on probation in 2022, according to Prison Policy Initiative, it indicates that judges frequently consider alternative sentences for lower criminal charges. Although it provides a reprieve from prison, it does come with strict guidelines.
1. What does probation look like?
Typically, a person will receive supervised probation. In rare cases, some people may get unsupervised probation or special probation, such as a person going through drug court. While not an exhaustive list, supervised probation often includes regular visiting with a probation officer, maintaining employment, providing samples for random alcohol and drug testing, and participating in some form of counseling.
2. What might a violation look like?
Any person on probation should have a clear understanding of what the courts require of them. While some remain easy to remember, others have more nuances. Probation often limits a person to a specific geographic area as well as comes with a curfew. Other frequent ways a probation violation happens include associating with criminals, failing to pay fines, possessing a weapon, or committing another crime.
3. What consequences might I face?
Since probation serves as an alternate form of punishment, a violation may lead a person back to the standard of spending time in jail. Probation officers who have reasonable cause that a violation occurred can arrest the violator without or warrant. The individual will then go to jail without bail while awaiting a violation of parole hearing. At that time, the judge may revoke probation and set a jail term.
A parole violation does not have to mean serving a jail sentence. In some cases, a person can prove the violation was invalid or unintentional.