If you have never been convicted of a crime you may feel that probation is simply a slap on the wrist for someone who has. However, probation is very serious matter and violating the conditions of probation can have serious consequences. While there is no doubt that probation is better than being incarcerated, adhering to the terms of probation can be a balancing act between repaying the debt owed to society and maintaining personal freedom. If you have been sentenced to probation for a crime in California it is important that you understand the full conditions of your probation.
Common California Probation Conditions
In California criminal courts are given quite a bit of freedom when it comes to the sentencing of many crimes. In crimes where probation is available as an option a judge can impose many different conditions for probation. While being on probation is better than being incarcerated it is important to understand that you are not free to do anything you desire. In fact, if you violate the conditions of your probation a judge could terminate your probation and sentence you to the jail or prison term for the crime you were convicted of committing.
Some common probation conditions may include:
If restitution is a condition of your probation you will be required to pay either the victim or the state of California for damage, theft, or any other expenses that were the result of your convicted offense. Typically the court will allow payment in installments for restitution.
Employment may be a condition of your probation. Research has indicated that those who are employed are less likely to commit crimes. Employment is also beneficial in matters concerning restitution because the income from employment can go toward restitution payments. For those reasons it is not uncommon for remaining employed to be a condition of your probation.
Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program
It is not uncommon for probation to be granted in cases involving driving under the influence (DUI), possession of a controlled substance, and other drug and alcohol related criminal offenses. As a result, the court may order you to complete a drug and alcohol treatment program as a condition of your probation. You may also have to submit to random drug testing during this period.
If you are given probation in a DUI case you will be forbidden from driving with any measurable amount of alcohol and/or drugs in your system. So, for example, if you are stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence and a blood or breath test returns any amount of drugs and/or alcohol in your system you will have violated your probation. It may also be required by the court that you install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle that will prevent the vehicle from starting if you fail the IID’s breath test.
If you are stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence it is mandatory that you submit to a blood or breath test. If you refuse to submit to these tests you will be considered in violation of your probation.
Search Warrant Waiver
During the course of your probation you may lose your rights (temporarily) to be free from warrantless search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment. This means that at any time the police may search your property, or your person, without having your consent or without having to follow the normal procedure for obtaining a search warrant. In addition, the police will not have to demonstrate probable cause as justification for the search.
No Contact Order
A no contact order will typically go into effect that prevents you from contacting the victim of your crime as a condition of your probation. No contact orders may also apply to you coming within a certain distance of the victim, their home, or their workplace. While this is typically seen in cases involving domestic abuse it is not strictly limited to those scenarios. A no contact order may be a condition of probation for any crime that involved harm to another person.
Perhaps one of the most common conditions of probation is community service. The court may mandate as a condition of your probation that you spend part of your time in service to your community. Community service can involve many activities such as picking up litter or working within a homeless or youth shelter.
Hiring a Fresno criminal defense attorney
Probation conditions can be lengthy and difficult to understand. If you or a loved one are facing probation, or you have already had probation sentenced and have questions about the conditions of your probation, you have the right to speak to a criminal defense attorney to have those questions answered. The Law Office of Gregory W. Fox understands that probation is a serious matter and we have the experience to properly counsel clients toward the successful completion of their probation conditions. If you have any questions, or would like to schedule a consultation to confidentially discuss the details of your case, you can reach us at (559) 222-5800 today.