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Criminal defense: How does probation work?

| Nov 4, 2020 | Criminal Defense

In New Jersey, like other states, people might be unsure how probation works. Those accused of criminal activities will likely retain experienced criminal defense attorneys’ services to explain the different legal options and proceedings. The difference between parole and probation could be confusing. Although both are privileges and not rights, good behavior might bring them about, with rehabilitation as the goal.

While convicted offenders can be paroled after completing a portion of a jail sentence, probation is awarded upon conviction instead of a jail sentence. In some cases, probation begins after a limited period in jail. However, probation conditions are strict, and violations of those terms could see the offender sent to prison. This allows convicted offenders to be rehabilitated while living in society, with strict rules to discourage them from committing new or similar crimes.

While on probation, the offender will be supervised by a probation agency, and the offender may have to report to the agency regularly. The severity of the crime committed will determine whether the individual is placed under inactive or active supervision. During the probation period, probationers must typically fulfill various conditions, including payment of court costs, fees and fines, and they might have to participate in rehabilitation programs. Conditions vary from one person to the next.

Along with reporting to probation officers, conditions could include restrictions on residence, such as living near schools. A probationer might have to do community service in a court-approved program and receive counseling for substance abuse or psychological problems. Drug and alcohol use might be restricted, and possession of weapons, including firearms, may be forbidden. These are but some of the probation conditions and probationers in New Jersey might have to appear in court from time to time for the court to check compliance with those conditions. An experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney can provide answers to questions and advocacy throughout the legal proceedings.