Depending upon the circumstances of your particular case, the charges you’re facing and other details, you may be eligible for a non-jail alternative like probation. Probation is a great way to stay in the community, while serving your ‘sentence.’ For many first-time and non-violent offenders, this is a way to keep your job and still take care of the responsibilities you have at home, while paying your debt to society. It’s important to note that probation isn’t just a get-out-of-jail-free card though. It does have requirements and guidelines that you have to follow in order to satisfy your sentence.

An Alternative to Jail

Ultimately, this is a supervised alternative to jail. You will likely have to check in with your probation officer on a weekly or other type of regular basis. You will have to make sure to follow all the guidelines of probation. The good news is that if you get probation, you get to stay home. This is so important for people with families who are caretakers or breadwinners. A parent spending even a week or 30 days in jail can be traumatic to a family unit, so probation can help to keep families together, all while satisfying a debt to society for the crime in question.

Probation: Not a Get Out of Jail Free Card

Nobody said probation was going to be easy. In some cases, even if you didn’t have drug charges, you will have to be drug tested regularly. You do lose some of your ‘freedom’ or at least your ‘feeling of freedom,’ because you have to follow the rules and check in with your probation officer on a regular basis. Failure to do so can land you in jail, so it’s essential to meet all the requirements and guidelines of your probation, even if they’re somewhat inconvenient, difficult or even make you feel like you’re not an adult who is in charge of his or her own life. Do your best to suck it up for the time being and get through your probation. It’s much better than the alternative, which would likely be going to jail.

Drug Testing, Classes and Programs

It sounds crazy, but even if your charges had nothing to do with drugs, you’re likely going to have to undergo regular drug testing as part of your probation requirements. Probation isn’t just showing up once in a while and checking in with your probation officer (although that is part of the deal), there will be a variety of requirements that you will need to comply with, that could include classes, fines, programs and a variety of other non-jail alternatives. It’s important to remember that even though many of these programs and requirements are incredibly inconvenient and sometimes costly, they’re far better than the alternative with is almost always jail time.

Additional Non-Jail Alternatives

In addition to probation, there are a variety of other non-jail sentence alternatives if convicted of a crime. Fines are frequently used as a non-jail alternative. Additionally, depending upon the circumstances of your individual case, you might also be facing drug or alcohol education programs. There might also be an opportunity for inpatient rehabilitation programs or family violence classes. Youth offenders will also have a variety of potential non-jail alternative sentences. It’s also important to note that many of these non-jail alternatives are frequently used in combination with probation.

Violation of Probation

If you violate any terms of your probation, you can go to jail. It’s essential to make every possible effort to meet all of your requirements of probation. In most cases, that means clean drug testing and regular meetings with your probation officer. You might also be required to satisfy some type of employment requirements or guidelines too. If you have any concern about being able to adequately meet any terms or guidelines of your probation, you need to bring up those concerns with your attorney and your probation officer as soon as possible.

Jackson Probation Attorney

Probation is a great alternative to jail. Whether you’re a non-violent drug offender or a youth first-time offender, this option can keep you out of jail and help to get you back on track. Probation is always the preferred alternative to jail, so you need a criminal defense lawyer who can be your advocate, protect your rights and fight on your behalf to stay out of jail. If you or somebody you love is facing any kind of criminal charges and you’re thinking that probation might be a viable non-jail alternative, contact the skilled and experienced criminal defense team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (601) 265-7766 for an immediate case consultation.


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