Avoiding common mistakes leading to probation violation

Violating terms and conditions of your probation can lead to serious criminal penalties. Of course, incarceration remains the most dreadful one hovering over your head. Since you are on probation, you obviously know that you must not break the law through criminal activity.

Essentially, the court gave you a break and looked upon you with some sympathy by ordering probation rather than handing out a prison sentence. The judge saw some light, some hope and some credibility in you. However, sometimes, people inadvertently violate terms of their probation. They get sloppy and careless, leading to additional legal complications.

Appear in court, pay your fines

Please avoid some of the common mistakes that have led to probation violations. They include failing to:

  • Make a court appearance at the designated time. Only the court reschedules court appearances, so you cannot make excuses about oversleeping, taking an out-of-town trip or just plain forgetting. Remember the dates, times and locations of your probation-related court appearances. And when you do appear in court with your attorney, dress conservatively, wearing a suit and tie if possible. Such a simple action can make an impression on a judge.
  • Report to your probation officer. Part of the process is keeping regularly scheduled appointments with your probation officer. Remember these appointments and keep them. You must understand that good words and good reviews from a probation officer likely will help you complete probation.
  • Pay your fines. This represents another misstep some make. Do not be careless and make more excuses. If you do not have the money and are unable to pay your fines, discuss this with your probation officer who may come up with alternative solutions.
  • Complete court-ordered classes or counseling as well as community service. Like everything else on this list, these are simple and doable steps. Follow through and complete them.

Stick firmly and closely to the terms of your probation. Upon completing probation, do your best to put your past in the rearview mirror and get on with your life.