4 Ways You Can Violate Probation

If you have been convicted of a crime, it’s possible to end up with some type of probation that you need to live with for some time. This probation could be in place of jail time, or for a period of time after you are released from jail. Either way, it is absolutely essential that you follow the terms of your probation precisely to avoid further legal problems or even (additional) incarceration. Unfortunately, even those who want to follow their probation terms, it is possible to violate them unintentionally. Learn about several of the most common probation violations out there, and how to avoid them so you don’t put your freedom at risk.

1. Missing an Appointment with Your Probation Officer

Once you are on probation you will be required to meet with a parole officer on a regular basis throughout the terms of your probation. This will often start out with a weekly meeting, and then become less frequent over time. During those meetings you will have to answer questions, possibly take a drug test. If you miss an appointment, it is a violation of your probation. If you can’t make your meeting for some reason, make sure you call ahead as soon as possible to reschedule.

2. Not Paying a Fine

You will typically be assessed certain fines as a result of a criminal conviction. When you go on probation, part of the agreement will be that you pay those fines on time. If you fail to make your payments according to the agreement, it will be considered a violation. If you find that you don’t have the money to make a payment due to unavoidable circumstances, make sure you reach out to your probation officer right away. They may be able to help, or at least offer direction on how to avoid a violation.

3. Becoming or Remaining Unemployed

In many cases, your probation with come with a requirement that you find and keep employment throughout the probationary period. If you are unable to find a job, or you get let go from your job, it is important that you work closely with your probation officer. Your PO and the court system will be understanding, and may even be able to help you find another job if you let them know right away. If you fail to report the loss of employment, or otherwise try to hide it, it will be considered a violation of your probation, and could result in serious penalties.

4. Associating with Restricted People or Places

If your probation states that you are not allowed to associate with people who have a criminal conviction or go to places where criminal activity is known to occur, make sure you take those restrictions seriously. Even just meeting an old friend for lunch can send you back to jail if that old friend has a criminal record. It is best to simply put distance between you and anyone with a questionable history during this time so you can avoid even the suspicion of criminal behavior.

John M. Totten