Probation is a common sentencing guideline in Minnesota. Sometimes it’s ordered upon completion of a jail sentence, while other times a judge will order probation as an alternative to jail. However you find yourself on probation, it’s a smart decision to follow the probation terms, otherwise you’ll end up in more trouble. Below, we share some tips for surviving your probation sentence.
Surviving Your Probation Terms
Probation is often designed as a “last chance” instead of sending a person to jail, or as a way to reintroduce them to the world after a jail sentence with conditions that help them avoid falling back into bad habits. The only big downside with probation is that you’ll probably face stiff penalties if you fail to meet your probation guidelines. Oftentimes a jail sentence awaits those who don’t complete the terms of their probation, so you need to take it seriously.
Here are some ways to take probation seriously and ensure you stay in line with the terms.
1. Fully Understand It – If you are flagged for a probation violation and you have to talk to your probation officer or a judge, saying that you “didn’t realize you were violating the terms of your probation” isn’t going to cut it. It’s your responsibility to understand and follow the terms set forth by the court. Once your probation terms are set, make sure you fully understand them and ask questions to your probation officer if there’s anything you don’t understand.
2. Foster A Good Relationship With Your PO – Your probation officer has a lot of power. If you screw something up or violate the terms of your probation, they can recommend that your probation be revoked. Get on their good side by always being on time (or early!) for meetings and by being respectful during your encounters.
3. Show Up For All Appointments – Know when and where you need to be for your appointments, and be there every time. Your appointment takes precedent over everything else in your life. If something crazy comes up, alert your probation officer as soon as possible. This may not mean you’re in the clear to miss a meeting, but letting them know why you missed a meeting after the fact can lead to trouble.
4. Keep Records – If part of your probation includes paying child support or going to a certain amount of alcohol education classes, make sure you keep detailed records of payments made or classes attended. A written record will go a lot farther than your word in proving that you are correct. Don’t assume there will be a record – keep one yourself.
5. Stay Out Of Trouble – Finally, the final thing you’ll want to do is to stay out of trouble. If you aren’t allowed to drink alcohol, don’t go to a bar or hang our at a party with alcohol. Don’t put yourself in a bad position or intentionally break your probation terms in hopes that you’ll get away with it. The short term benefit is not worth the jail time. Stay out of trouble for the duration of your probation.
If you need help with your criminal case or your probation, reach out to the experienced lawyers at Appelman Law Firm today.