Probation is a provision that allows the court to release a person convicted of a crime into the community under the supervision of a probation officer. The release is conditional and revocable. In other words, the individual on probation must comply with the terms that the court sets. If he or she does not, violating probation is an offense that could mean incarceration.
Many people underestimate the seriousness of probation. The court may order it in lieu of incarceration or in addition to serving some jail time, but it is still a sentence imposed as punishment for a criminal offense. While mistakes may happen, a person on probation should take it seriously and make an effort to comply with the terms.
Who is eligible for probation?
According to the California Legislature, state law prevents the court from ordering probation for certain convictions, except in unusual circumstances. Examples of people who are generally not eligible for probation include those convicted of inflicting great bodily injury or attempting to use a deadly weapon in the perpetration of the offense.
Even possessing a deadly weapon at the time is enough to disqualify a person from probation if the person did not have a lawful right to carry it. A record of previous felony convictions can also make one ineligible for probation.
What are the conditions of probation?
According to the Southern District of California, the law requires the court to impose certain standard conditions on probation. The court may also impose special conditions at its discretion. The standard conditions include requirements to follow the instructions of the probation officer and report to him or her as directed.