Restricted Freedom: Probation can come in many forms

Hidden Cost of Conviction in Virginia: Probation

Another consequence of a conviction can be the imposition of probation. Probation can come in many forms. The traditional probation is what is called active probation. The term of probation can be from a short time to a very lengthy term of 20 years or more and it can even be indefinite depending on various factors. With active probation you are assigned a probation officer who will monitor you during the probationary period. This can require you to report in person to your probation officer at various intervals which can be weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, or on some other schedule and is usually at the discretion of the probation officer. There are also occasions when you will be asked to report on a random basis such as when you are on probation for a drug conviction and are required to report with only a few hours notice for drug testing. In addition to the reporting requirement probation officers can set any number of special rules with which you must comply during the probationary period. Among the more common rules are travel restrictions that prohibit you from leaving the state, a curfew requiring you to be home by a certain time every night, requirements that you maintain full time employment or remain in school, and/or prohibitions against the use of alcohol or against associating with certain persons. The list of rules that you must follow is virtually endless and, depending on the probation officer, can significantly interfere with your life.

Another form of probation is inactive probation. This form of probation is usually imposed for more minor offenses and does not require you to report to a probation officer or be bound by any specific rules. It does require you to be of good behavior during the probationary period, and any violation of law during this time is considered a violation of probation. Even minor offenses such as getting a speeding ticket can result in your being brought back into court for a violation of your probation and can result in additional punishment for the offense for which you were placed on probation in addition to the penalties for the new violation.

The Alcohol Safety Action Program (ASAP) is also a form of probation. This type of probation is imposed for convictions of DUI, alcohol related offenses, and drug convictions. It is important to hire a skilled DUI lawyer to successfully resolve your DUI case and avoid ASAP. This is a form of active probation. During the probationary period you are required to attend counseling as well as submit to alcohol and drug testing on a random basis. ASAP can require you to attend more intensive counseling and can even commit you to inpatient drug treatment if they feel that is necessary. One thing to keep in mind about ASAP probation is that you are paying for whatever treatment they require of you. This can become very expensive. ASAP probation is set for a specific period of time, which is usually one year for misdemeanors but can be extended. As with other forms of probation, violations of the rules will result in you being brought back to court to face potential additional penalties.

Many times your criminal defense attorney can find ways to avoid probation and the costs and restrictions that it imposes on your freedom.