Many people who find themselves facing criminal charges feel grateful if they receive probation instead of any kind of incarceration. Compared to jail time, probation is certainly a lesser sentence. It typically provides you with most of your civil freedoms, provided that you comply with the terms set by the judge and your probation officer.

However, probation makes it very easy to end up headed to jail. Anyone on probation must take their sentence seriously. Failing to adhere to the terms of your probation in the sentencing order and any rules set in place by your probation officer could result in serious consequences.

Probation violations can easily result in serving the full sentence for the offense that resulted in probation. The good news for anyone dealing with an alleged violation of their probation is that, like someone facing a criminal charge, those accused of violating probation have the right to defend themselves.

The point of probation is to protect the public from repeat offenders

Probation serves as a halfway point between allowing someone to move on after facing criminal charges and simply incarcerating them. Probation makes it clear that the state finds the crime in question serious and worries about the potential for the accused to commit another crime in the future. In Lancaster County, one of the main focuses of the probation program is to avoid recidivism in those who participate in the program.

In order to keep people from sliding back into dangerous or illegal behaviors, probation officers often require that individuals maintain steady employment and find a secure place to live. Other terms of probation often include avoiding contact with anyone convicted or accused of a crime.

Probation terms typically also include prohibitions against the use of any illicit drugs or even alcohol. In some cases, individuals on probation shouldn’t even go to parties or businesses where they know there will be alcohol. While all of those rules may seem unnecessarily strict, the idea is to set people up for success rather than future criminal acts.

You should respond proactively to alleged probation violations

If you hear from your probation officer or the courts that they suspect a breach of the terms of your probation, you should take immediate action. If you find yourself arrested or otherwise in a situation where you believe you will violate the terms of your probation, you should also make every effort to protect yourself and your probation status.

Speaking with a Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyer is usually a good option for anyone worried that they may have violated the terms of their probation. An attorney can shed light on your situation and also help you plan for any future defense that you may have to put together related to the violation.