One of the penalties individuals can face if they are convicted of crimes in Florida is being placed on probation. Some people mistakenly think that this is an easy way to deal with a criminal charge. The fact is that being placed on probation means that you are required to comply with some difficult rules while you are in the program.
When you are sentenced to probation, the court will set the length of the sentence. Throughout that time, you have to ensure that you are meeting the basic requirements that your probation officer discusses with you. There might also be additional terms that the court sets as part of your sentence.
Your probation officer will let you know the exact terms that you have to comply with while you are completing your sentence. You will likely have to go into the office to have face-to-face meetings. In some cases, probation officers might visit you at your home or possibly on your job. Some contact requirements might be met through phone calls, texts or emails. Just make sure that you fully understand what your officer wants you to do.
On top of the difficult rules, you will have other terms to comply with. These include staying out of legal trouble, not consuming alcohol or drugs, holding a job and finding stable housing. Your probation officer will work with you on these matters. For example, there is a chance that finding a job will be difficult if you are a felon. Your probation officer may have leads or ideas that can help you find suitable employment.
If you are on probation for drug charges or drunk driving, you may be required to have random or regularly scheduled drug and alcohol tests. An ankle monitor to keep track of your whereabouts might be required. These are commonly associated with people who are considered a flight risk or who are on probation for more serious charges.
Purpose of the terms
The purpose of the terms of probation are to keep you out of trouble while you complete the program. The goal of probation is to help you become a productive member of society and to address issues that could bring you back into the criminal justice system once your court sentence is over.
Even though it is easy to understand why probationers have to comply with specific terms, there are times when they are difficult to follow. Failing to follow the rules of the program can result in a probation violation. This is a special legal proceeding that requires you to answer to the judge for your actions. You aren’t guaranteed a jury trial for a probation violation. Instead, it is handled through a bench trial with a judge hearing and deciding the case.