Serving a criminal sentence behind bars can change a person’s life. No matter what the offense may have been, spending time in jail or prison can result in lost jobs and broken relationships with loved ones, not to mention emotional distress.

With so much on the line, receiving probation in lieu of jail or prison time is critical. It allows a person to serve all or part of a criminal sentence away from detention facilities. However, people on probation make mistakes that lead them back to jail.

Mistakes people make on probation

Every person placed on probation in Indiana must comply with specific rules. While they can vary on a case-by-case basis, many of the rules are generally the same. Therefore, if you are on probation, it can be crucial that you refrain from the following common types of violations:

  1. Using drugs or alcohol – Failing a test for drugs or alcohol can be a violation of your probation.
  2. Skipping meetings with your probation officer – You must attend meetings with your probation officer. You should also prepare for home visits (scheduled or unscheduled) from a probation officer. Failing to show up or be at home when you are supposed to be can be grounds for a violation.
  3. Committing another offense – Engaging in any criminal activity while on probation can result in revocation or extension of your probation. 
  4. Leaving the jurisdiction without permission – If you wish to leave your state or travel outside the country, you must secure approval from your probation officer first. 
  5. Voluntarily being out of work or school – Many probationers must remain employed or enrolled in school as a condition of their release. If you are voluntarily unemployed or drop out of school, you could violate your probation.

If you do not take probation seriously, you not only risk going back to jail, but you face additional penalties for violations.

Defending against violations

The best way to avoid the penalties of a probation violation is not to commit one in the first place. However, if you have – or if your probation officer claims you have – then you still have the right to defend yourself. You can consult your attorney to discuss appropriate legal strategies.

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