Think carefully about your actions when you are 'on paper'

People who are on probation or parole are often said to be "on paper" by people familiar with the criminal justice system. If you are on probation or parole, you must ensure that you are in full compliance with the program's requirements. If you violate the conditions of the program, you could face legal action for a probation or parole violation.

The conditions are strict

The conditions of parole and probation programs are often tailored to the parolee's or probationer's case. Typically, you will have to report to the officer on a regular basis. These visits usually happen in person, but it might be possible to check in over the phone or using virtual methods. You will have to stay out of legal trouble, which includes even seemingly minor incidents like getting a traffic ticket.

On top of those requirements, you will most likely be required to hold a steady job and live in stable housing. If you change jobs or move, you will have to get permission before you do so. If one of these occurs without warning, you have to alert the officer covering your case.

You might also be required to take drug or alcohol tests on a regular basis. You will likely be ordered to avoid associating with other people who are felons or convicted of criminal charges. You might also have to meet certain other requirements, such as having to do community service and pay fines.

Your rapport matters

The rapport that you have with the probation or parole officer matters. If something happens and you do violate the terms of the program, how the officer handles the situation is usually up to the officer. If you have a good rapport with the officer, you might have a better chance at getting a warning instead of a probation or parole violation. Of course, there are some violations that would require the officer to file a violation without having the option of just warning you.

Violations go before a judge

Probation and parole violations go before a judge. You don't have the option of having a jury trial for these cases. This means that you need to carefully prepare your defense against the charges since the judge will look at things strictly with the eyes of the law. When you think about the possibility of having to serve a suspended sentence, which can include incarceration, you should have the fuel you need to get started on your defense.

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