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What are the Basic Probation Requirements?

By Felicia Dye
Updated May 16, 2024
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Probation requirements can vary depending on the jurisdiction, the judge, and the offense. One condition that usually always exists, however, is that an individual cannot have any additional criminal problems for a certain amount of time. He or she may also be ordered to avoid contact with certain individuals, including all criminals, and a curfew may be imposed. Furthermore, there may be things that the person is required to do to prevent violating probation, such as keeping a job, engaging in community service, and completing a treatment program.

Probation is criminal punishment that is often imposed as an alternative to incarceration. While a person is subjected to this type of consequence, he is usually under legal supervision and is subject to a number of probation requirements. If an individual violates these, he is usually at risk of being incarcerated, and the sentence could be longer than it originally would have been if he had not been on probation.

One of the most common probation requirements is that a person is forbidden from getting into any legal trouble. If a person is charged with any crime while she is bound by the terms of probation, she may be considered in violation of her probation. Although it may seem unfair because mistakes do happen, it is possible for a person to be deemed in violation simply due to her arrest, even if she is not convicted.

Another of the common probation requirements is limited association. In some instances, a court may simply forbid a person from having contact with specific individuals, such as those who may have been accomplices to the crime or a victim of his offense. It can often be found, however, that a person is ordered not to associate with anyone who has been convicted of a crime or who has pending criminal charges.

Maintaining employment or going to school may be among the list of probation requirements. When a person is given an alternative to incarceration, it is often the court’s goal to try to ensure that the individual engages in positive activities during this time. An individual may also be ordered to participate in community services.

When the charges that resulted in a person having probation result from another problem, such as substance abuse or gambling addition, the individual may be ordered to enroll in a treatment program. In many cases, the court will have a list of approved programs, and many of them are only accessible for a fee. If a person accepts the probation requirements, however, courts sometimes refuse to accept financial hardship as a valid excuse for not completing treatment.

Curfews are also commonly imposed as probation requirements. The curfew times can vary depending on the circumstances. To confirm whether the individual is compliant, a probation officer may call the individual on a home telephone at random times. In addition to this, people on probation are often subject to travel restrictions. It is common for them to be required to remain within a specific area such as a county or city unless permission to travel outside those boundaries is requested and granted.

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