The Bottom Line on Probation
Not all convictions automatically equal jail time in Illinois. Sometimes you get probation in lieu of jail or a shorter prison sentence with probation included. While not every criminal offense is eligible for probation, if you’ve never had a conviction before and the offense isn’t incredibly severe, probation is a real possibility. Probation does still count as a conviction on your record, but you may be spared spending time in jail.
During probation, you’re allowed to remain in the community but your actions are monitored. You must follow all the terms of your probation, including attending court dates and reporting to a probation officer.
Typical Probation Lengths
How long you’re on probation depends on your case and the offense. Usually, probation is for one, two or three years, but it can be longer.
Common Probation Terms
While on probation, you’ll have specific terms that you have to stick to during your period. Terms vary by case but often include:
- Reporting to a probation officer
- Attending all required court dates
- Not committing any crimes
- Paying any and all fines related to the offense
- Avoiding specific places and people
- Not traveling out of state without permission
- Obeying all laws
- Completing any court-ordered community service
- Avoiding drug use and excessive drinking
- Going through any drug/alcohol treatment programs you agreed to take
Violating Your Probation
If you don’t follow your probation terms, you may have it revoked and end up in jail. Any time a violation is discovered, the probation officer on your case will determine whether you receive a warning or if you need to go to a violation hearing. At the hearing, the judge reviews your information and decides whether you violated probation, if you need more terms or fines added, and if you should serve jail time.
Having Probation Revoked
A probation revocation doesn’t always mean jail time. The judge may decide to increase your probation period or add new terms, such as having you attend counseling. However, the judge can decide to have you serve a short time in jail or the jail time that was applicable to your original sentence.
Parole vs. Probation
Parole and probation are similar and often confused. Probation is handed down when you’re sentenced and can be served instead of jail. Parole, on the other hand, is given after a person has spent some time in prison and is handled by the parole board. A person who served a portion of his or her sentence and has shown good behavior in jail may receive parole. People who are on probation and people who are on parole do have similar requirements, such as meeting with their assigned officer and following specific terms.
If you’re facing a DUI charge, seek the help of the best DUI lawyer in Springfield IL immediately. Depending on your background and history, probation may be an option for you, but you’ll need legal help to get there.