Given the choice between probation and jail time, most criminal offenders would choose probation. When you are put on probation, your jail sentence is suspended and you are allowed to remain in your community.
However, while probation may sound like an attractive alternative to incarceration, this type of sentence does come with some tough terms and conditions. Failure to comply with these conditions may result in not just the revocation of your probation, but also a variety of tough penalties, including the reinstitution of your prison sentence and fines.
Colorado courts will typically sentence a person to probation in order to give them an opportunity to rehabilitate themselves without confinement. While conditions of probation in Colorado typically vary from case to case, some of the most common terms and conditions of probation include:
Reporting to a probation officer. If you are placed on probation, you are likely going to be required to report regularly to a probationary officer. Failure to report to your probation officer at your scheduled time and date could result in a probation violation charge.
Restitution. The terms of your probation may require you to pay restitution or fines to the alleged victim or your community.
Possession a weapon or firearm prohibition. Under the terms of your probation, you may be barred from purchasing or possessing any kind of weapon or firearm.
Drug or alcohol use prohibition. Depending on the nature of the crime you were convicted of, you may be prohibited from using alcohol or drugs unless prescribed by your physician. In addition, you may be forbidden to visit a location where alcohol or controlled substances or sold, and be required to submit to routine drug or chemical testing. If you fail these tests, or are found under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substance, you may be charged with violating your probation.
Restriction from leaving the country or state. The terms of your probation may prohibit you from traveling out of the country or the state without the permission of your probation officer.
Obeying all laws. Generally, the terms of your probation will require that you obey all laws, including seemingly minor ones, such as jaywalking restrictions and traffic tickets. If you violate any additional laws while on probation, you could be charged with probation violation.
Securing lawful employment. While on probation, you may be required to find lawful employment and alert your employer of your probationary status.
Protection or restraining order. Under the terms of your probation, you may be prohibited from harassing, intimidating, or tampering with the alleged victim or any prosecution witness.
Special Conditions of Probationary Terms
In addition to these standard probationary terms, the court may impose special conditions based on the circumstances of your crime. Examples of special probation conditions in Colorado include:
- Abiding by curfew
- Obtaining a GED or high school diploma
- Completing a domestic violence program
- Attending Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings
- Staying away from certain places and people
- Submitting to and paying for electronic monitoring
- Submitting to and paying for mental health care
- Submitting to and paying for a drug rehabilitation program
The terms of probation can be restrictive and unwelcome, but they are generally preferable to the consequences of violating your probation. If you are found in violation of your probation, you could face additional probation terms, hefty fines, and incarceration.
Do not face a probation violation charge alone—consult with a criminal defense attorney with experience in probation violations. Your attorney can help you fight the probation violation charges against you and prevent these charges from turning into harsher penalties to your freedom and finances.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012 and 2013 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.