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Frequent Probation Questions

Here are a few of the most common probation questions I have received.  Keep in mind that these questions and answers may not apply to your case.  If a motion to revoke probation has been filed in your case, it is always best to seek the advice of counsel.

WHAT'S PROBATION LIKE?

Probation can either be supervised or unsupervised.  The overwhelming majority of people are assigned to supervised probation.  While on supervised probation you can expect to meet with your probation officer at least once a month, undergo recidivism classes like a batterer's intervention program (BIP), submit to random testing for the use of drugs and alcohol, and make regular payments toward any fees and fines associated with your case.  While on unsupervised probation, the judge may require completion of certain programs and payments of fees.  Whether probation is supervised or unsupervised, your probation officer will manage your completion of all of the tasks the judge assigns to you.

See also, What probation entails. How probation works. What does a probation officer doProbation where you don't check in.

WHEN PROBATION IS REVOKED WHAT HAPPENS?

A motion to revoke probation is filed when a probation officer believes a violation has happened.  The judge will decide whether to order you to appear at a hearing (a summons) or file a warrant for your arrest to compel appearance.  At the hearing, you will have the option to agree that a violation occurred (a stipulation) or you can have an evidentiary hearing on the matter.  If the judge finds that a violation occurred, the judge might require that you serve the underlying sentence.

See also, What's probation revocationWhen probation is violated what happens?

CAN PROBATION BE EXTENDED?

Yes.  The length of probation can be extended voluntarily or involuntarily.  In most cases, a voluntary extension of probation happens when a probationer has a minor infraction.  The most common reason is failure to pay fines.  An involuntary extension of probation happens when a motion to revoke probation is filed and a judge finds that the terms of probation were not followed.

See also, Why would probation be extended?

CAN PROBATION BE REDUCED?

In rare circumstances probation can be reduced.  To do so, you must file a motion requesting it.  The judge will have discretion to grant or deny the motion.  To improve your chances of success, an experienced attorney will ensure you have completed all of the terms of probation.  If all of the fees and fines are paid and all of the requirements (such as completing an evaluation and following the recommendations) are complete, probation may be terminated early.

See also, Can probation be terminated early?

CAN PROBATION DRUG TEST YOU?

Yes.  Judges often require abstinence from using illegal drugs while on probation.  This is especially true in cases involving possession of controlled substances or paraphernalia.  The courts generally require using a call in system where you find out about the random urinalysis (UA) the night before a mandatory test. The tests cover most illegal drugs, like marijuana, as well as alcohol. Because the drug tests are random, it is difficult to predict the frequency of tests. 

See also, How do probation drug tests workWill probation test for marijuanaWill probation do a hair testProbation how often drug test?

CAN PROBATION OFFICERS ARREST YOU?

Yes.  If you violated the terms of your probation.  A motion to revoke will be prepared by your probation officer.  The motion is sent to the prosecutor's office who will request that the court grant an arrest warrant.  The process can be completed very quickly if a probation officer believes a violation has occurred.  Sometimes, probation officers have police officers waiting at their office if an arrest warrant has been granted.  If you believe your probation officer wants you arrested, it may be a good idea to have a bondsman ready so you can be bailed out with little interruption to your life.

CAN PROBATION BE TRANSFERRED TO ANOTHER STATE?

Yes.  An interstate compact can be granted in certain cases depending mostly on the nature of the charges.  Before you agree to a probation sentence, make sure you can check in with a probation officer in another state.  It can be very frustrating to drive back to Kansas for every probation appointment if you live as close as Missouri.

HOW DOES PROBATION END?

Probation ends in one of three ways.  First, you can successfully compete all of the requirements, pass all of the random urinalysis tests, and pay all of the fees and fines.  Then, you will be released from probation.  Second, some people are unsuccessfully discharged from probation.  This happens in the rarest of cases at the discretion of the judge.  Finally, probation could end by serving the underlying sentence in the case if you fail to complete all of the requirements.

HOW DOES PROBATION TEST FOR ALCOHOL?

Just like testing for the use of illegal drugs, random urinalysis testing is utilized.  However, a probation officer may also require that you blow into a remote breath unit (RBU) or wear an ankle bracelet that measures alcohol use.

See also, Will probation test for alcoholWhen on probation can you drink?

JOHNSON COUNTY PROBATION ATTORNEY

If you are asking yourself these questions, it is a good idea to hire an attorney who regularly handles probation violation cases.  Call 913-575-8823 to discuss your situation with Attorney Adam D. Stolte

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