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What are some facts about probation?

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Quick Answer

When probation is granted, the probationer's jail sentence is suspended in return for cooperation with court-ordered rules, according to FindLaw. To ensure compliance, each probationer is overseen by a probation officer. The court may ask probationers to avoid illegal drugs, make additional court appearances or perform community service.

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Full Answer

Depending on the severity of the original charge, probation may last for three or more years, states FindLaw. If the crime was gang-related, the judge may require the probationer to avoid gang members or other specified groups of individuals. Probation may involve undergoing substance abuse rehabilitation or drug testing. Often, probationers can't leave the state without asking their probation officers for permission.

A probation violation occurs when a probationer does not obey the terms or conditions of probation, reports FindLaw. The probation officer can respond to a possible violation by issuing a warning or mandating a probation violation hearing. At the hearing, the supervising judge can issue fines or additional jail time. The judge might order the probationer to receive counseling or another type of treatment.

Parole and probation are similar but not identical, notes FindLaw. Parole involves early release for prisoners who have partly served their sentences. In contrast, probation can spare people from having to serve time in the first place.

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