Probation helps keep those accused of criminal offenses out of prison. Most people think of probation as the better option than incarceration when they face criminal charges. Probation can help you keep your job, provide for your family and maintain your freedom after criminal charges.
However, accusations of a probation violation might mean that you wind up in front of a judge again. If you are already on probation or hope to obtain a sentence of probation instead of incarceration, learning about some of the more common probation violations can help you avoid making a big mistake that could cost you your freedom.
Failing to show up for an appointment
A probation officer has a number of important responsibilities, including the right to summon you for a meeting. It is their job to supervise you as someone convicted of an offense but still released back into the community. If you fail to show up to probation appointments, that could result in a violation summons to go back to court.
Hanging out with the wrong people or partying on probation
Depending on the nature of the conviction, probation can involve many kinds of restrictions on your daily activities. Limiting who you can socialize with is common. You may be subject to rules that specifically prohibit you from interacting with anyone currently accused of or previously convicted of criminal activity.
Rules against consuming illegal drugs or even alcohol are also common. You might even have a restriction against being someplace where other people consume alcohol or drugs. That could mean that going to a party or a bar on probation is a violation depending on the terms set. The same could be true of socializing with someone who has a criminal record.
Traveling out of state without permission
Your probation officer cannot reasonably supervise you from another state. Traveling to a different state means leaving the jurisdiction where they and the courts that sentenced you to probation have legal authority.
You may need to simply put off a vacation until after your probation unless your probation officer approves your travel request. You may also need to ask for a change of your job responsibilities if frequent out-of-state travel is necessary.
Understanding how simple actions to put your freedom at risk can help you avoid making potentially serious mistakes while on probation.