People are sometimes sentenced to probation instead of having to spend time in prison when they are convicted of a crime. To people who aren’t involved in the criminal justice system, this might seem like an easy way out. The truth is that probation can be very challenging for some people. Still, the court tries to give some people a chance to make life improvements without having to report to prison.
The probation program allows the person to remain out in society while they are being monitored by an officer. They must report into the office and might have to comply with requests like random drug tests. Other requirements include finding a stable job and housing. The goal is to help the person become a productive member of society while they are working through their criminal punishment.
The issue here is that some individuals find it difficult to avoid the things that got them into trouble. For example, a person who is convicted of drug possession might find it impossible to stay away from their dealer and might fall back into the drug abuse habits. This can lead to more legal trouble for them if the probation officer files a violation.
When a person is on probation, they are expected to stay out of trouble. Being arrested or testing positive for an illegal drug, as well as breaking any other probation terms, can lead to a violation. This means that the person will have to explain their actions to the judge. They don’t get a jury trial. The judge decides in a bench trial what should happen because of the actions.