When a person finds out that he or she will have to serve probation instead of being sent to prison, he or she might assume that he or she got the easy way out. Certainly, probation is easier since you don't have to spend time in prison. What you must know is that probation comes with some very strict rules that you must follow.
Your probation officer will let you know the terms of the program when you come in for an appointment. You might get a written list of rules that you have to follow when you are on probation. These might include having to report on a regular basis, taking and passing drug or alcohol tests, staying out of legal trouble and not having contact with other felons.
There are some cases in which probation terms are going to be tailored to your case. For example, if you are serving probation for a drug charge, you might need to report for random drug tests or you may have to take a test at each meeting with your probation officer.
When you don't follow the rules of the program, you can face more legal trouble. Your probation officer might issue a probation violation. This means that you will have to answer up for the violation to a judge. This judge decides if you actually did violate your probation terms. If the judge decides a violation occurred, you could be sent to jail or prison or have to deal with other penalties.
A probation violation must be taken seriously since there is a chance that your freedom will be affected. Think carefully about the defense strategy you use in these cases since you are going before a judge.
Source: FindLaw, "Probation Violation," accessed Oct. 05, 2017