When Is an Individual Placed on Probation?

Interviewer:  My first question is when are people put on probation?  Is probation imposed only after they’ve been convicted?  Or is it as an alternative punishment instead of being convicted?

Probation Is Imposed Typically an Alternate to a Prison or Jail Sentence

Court Koehler:  It can be either or both of those things.  Typically, probation is a step down from having someone incarcerated, go to jail or prison.  A lot of times a client will be put on probation instead of doing some period of jail time.

There are conditions that go along with being placed on probation.  You may have to do random drug testing, and you may have certain places that you can’t travel to and other restrictions.  In general, it is an alternate to being in prison or jail, but sometimes you can be placed on probation when you get out of jail, as well.

Is Probation Frequently Imposed in Criminal Cases?

Interviewer:  How often, in criminal cases, is probation imposed?

Court Probation and Supervised Probation

Court Koehler: If there is a conviction or if the defendant pleads guilty to some charges, then it happens almost every time.  There are different kinds of probation.  There is court probation, and then there’s supervised probation.

With the court probation, all that means is that the defendant can’t get in trouble, can’t violate the law in any way, or he or she will incur some severe penalties, other than the original violation of the law.

With a supervised probation, that’s where there are some additional restrictions imposed, such as you may have to have a probation officer that you meet with at certain times.  You may have treatment for a chemical dependency or emotional issue that you go through.  There may be regional restrictions where you can’t leave the city or the state.

Does the Punishment for Certain Offenses Usually Entail Probation?

Interviewer: What kinds of offenses carry probation with them, typically?

Probation Is Imposed Commonly for DUIs, Drug Offenses and Violent Crimes

Court Koehler: Really almost every offense has some kind of probation, but typically the kinds of infractions that carry probation instead of just jail time are DUIs.  Drug possession offenses have some probation.  Then your violent crimes like assault can have probation, and usually a supervised probation and some sort of anger management treatment.

Almost any type of crime most usually has some sort of probation attached to them unless the defendant is going to prison.

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