What is Misdemeanor Probation?

Misdemeanor probation means a punishment for a first-time criminal offense. In a first-time felony case, the courts can sentence a defendant to prison. Instead of sending a defendant to jail, probation is a community-based sentence. Probation is not a jail option. Rather, the judge or jury may place a defendant under probation instead of sending him or her straight to jail for a period of time.

What is a Misdemeanor

Misdemeanors usually involve smaller crimes, such as driving under the influence or shoplifting. However, some misdemeanor crimes are more serious and require prison time. Examples are public drunkenness, simple assault, petty theft, drug possession, and domestic violence. These crimes often carry longer sentences than the other more common misdemeanor cases. Some of the sentences for felony charges also include incarceration.

Misdemeanor Sentencing

An important part of a misdemeanor sentence is that the offender has to perform community service in lieu of a fine or jail time. This may be something simple like going to a restaurant to get a meal, or something more substantial. Probation officers will decide what amount of community service the defendant should undertake. For example, some offenders can only spend a night in jail if they go to prison. If an offender does not complete the amount of community service that the judge or the probation officer has ordered, then the offender can be sent back to jail.

Probation is a Sentencing Option

Another type of sentencing option for a minor misdemeanor is probation supervision. Probation supervision allows the defendant to continue living in his or her house, but still be under the supervision of the probation officer. Probation officers can ask a defendant to get a job or participate in community services, but a judge may also decide not to allow the defendant to leave the house unless he or she has permission. A defendant is not allowed to possess weapons or any other tools of the crime while on probation.

Probationers are offered the opportunity to remain in the community while addressing their needs and paying back the community in any number of ways. Offenses typical to misdemeanor probation include, but are not limited to:

  • Driving Under the Influence
  • Domestic Violence, Stalking, Violation of Protection Orders.
  • Battery
  • Misdemeanor possession of controlled substance and paraphernalia
  • Driving Without Privileges
  • Various felonies amended to misdemeanors

Misdemeanor probation rules

Like felony probation rules, typically misdemeanor probation rules rely on the underlying offense.  Here’s a list of standard rules of probation that could apply to your case:

  1. Do not violate the law;
  2. Report all police contact to your probation officer;
  3. Cooperate with counseling requirements/suggestions;
  4. Report to appointments with your probation officer;
  5. Obtain a travel permit before leaving the state

Complete Misdemeanor Probation Successfully

Dealing with probation officers can be difficult.  We’ve worked with the people who are supervising you, and we understand how miserable some of them are.  But one thing is crucial: follow the rules.  If you don’t follow the rules, your agent can, and will (especially if they truly are miserable) try to simply lock you up without any kind of second chance.  If you’re told not to drink, don’t drink.