If you are about to be placed on probation, you need to realize that your life is about to change. You will have to conduct your life with the understanding that your probation officer holds a great deal of power over you and your future. While on probation, you are subject to conditions and restrictions that, if not followed, can lead to your incarceration and ineligibility for further probation.
The standard conditions of probation in Arkansas include refraining from criminal conduct, avoiding association with known criminals, maintaining employment or education, attending mandated group therapy and regularly reporting to the probation officer or department. There are also restrictions on residence and travel and there may be required community service or payment of victim restitution.
Depending on the crime involved, there may be other conditions imposed on a probationer. If you were convicted or pled guilty to assault in a domestic dispute, there may be a protection order in place and you may be required to attend a domestic violence class. Conviction of drug-related crimes or crimes involving alcohol may require attending drug or alcohol counseling classes and frequent drug or alcohol tests.
If you are charged with a probation violation, you are entitled to a hearing before a judge and to have a criminal defense attorney represent you. However, it is best to avoid any conduct that could result in such charges.
If there is a protection order in place, don’t violate it. That means you can’t go to the house where your spouse or partner lives to retrieve clothes or other personal property without the permission of the court.
If the terms of your probation require you to go to a domestic violence class, go to the class. If you are required to attend Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings, go to the meetings. And make sure you sign the attendance sheets.
You may be required to get a high school degree, a high school equivalency diploma or find a job. If so, at least be able to show that you are making good faith efforts. This means keeping copies of class schedules, attendance records, letters/emails showing dates for job interviews and other documents.
Above all, make every effort to cooperate with your probation officer. If you have regularly scheduled appointments, keep them. If you have to reschedule, call ahead of the appointment; don’t just not show up. If you change jobs, move or change your phone number, let them know. The more your P.O. trusts you, the more willing they may be to overlook minor violations.
James Law Firm in Little Rock, Arkansas provides skillful defense and aggressive representation for all criminal charges. Contact us online or call (501) 375-0900 to schedule your free consultation. We are available 24/7, and jail appointments are also available. Parking is free at our office in Little Rock.