Most clients who are charged with a crime fear they will receive the worst possible sentence: jail time. However, depending on their particular backgrounds, most cases are able to be resolved without the client doing time. One common alternative to incarceration that is often utilized by the court is a sentence of probation supervision. Probation is seen as an alternative to incarceration. Probation is unique to each case and the terms and conditions of the supervision will vary, but often include mandatory reporting to a probation officer, restrictions on a person’s travel, mandatory alcohol/drug counseling, prohibitions on owning weapons and drug screening among other things.
Determining the Span of Probation Supervision
When discussing a possible resolution of a criminal case with a client where the option of probation has been proposed, we are always asked how long the person must be under probation supervision. The New York Penal Law specifies how long a sentence of probation imposed by a judge must be, depending on the level of offense a person is convicted of. For most felony offenses (where a sentence of probation is authorized), the term must be for 3, 4 or 5 years. If a person stands convicted of a misdemeanor, the probation must be 1, 2 or 3 years in duration. For class B misdemeanors, the period of supervision is 1 year. For class A misdemeanors, the length of probation must be 2 or 3 years. For an unclassified misdemeanor (such as DWI), the probation period may be 2 or 3 years. For those convicted of certain sex offenses, the length of probation is 6 years for misdemeanors and 10 years for eligible felony offenses. While the law specifies how long a period of probation a judge must impose, that does not necessarily mean that a person placed on probation will be supervised for the entire period. Quite often, particularly for first-time offenders, the responsible probation officer may ask the sentencing judge to discharge a person from probation supervision before their maximum time has come. If a probationer has been compliant with all terms and conditions of their probation and met whatever other conditions may have been imposed (e.g.-the full payment of restitution to the victim), they may be granted an early discharge from probation supervision.
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If you are facing the prospect of being placed on probation, the experienced attorneys at Team Green Lawyers can advise you not only on what to expect but also the best strategies in limiting your time on probation and being successfully discharged early from the watchful eye of probation.