For some reason, there always seems to be a lot of misinformation about the rules, regulations, and laws in our country. Part of this is due to the fact that rules are different across different geographic boundaries such as county lines and state lines. To be fair, they do change quite frequently, but usually rumors spread as a message becomes garbled after being spread by word of mouth. One legal area that people seem to have countless questions about is probation.

Understanding Probation

When an individual in Colorado commits a felony or a misdemeanor, they can be sentenced to probation as well as jail or prison time. However, depending on the nature of your offense, you could be sentenced to one of two main types of probation: supervised or unsupervised. The following are the most common questions asked about these types of probation.

1. How Long Does Probation Last?

This is about as easy to answer as the question, “How long is a piece of string?” Generally, probation can last anywhere between a few months up to a few years, and is entirely dependent on the nature of your offense as well as your history of other offenses.

2. Does Probation Cost Money?

In some cases, probation does not cost money. More typically, however, you will need to pay fees for your supervision and potentially other fees such as the cost for drug testing. Monthly supervision costs vary, but can be less than $75.00 a month.

3. What Do I Need to Do During Probation?

Again, this is all dependent on the type of offense you committed. The following are just a few potential requirements for your probation period:

  • drug testing
  • alcohol testing
  • anger management classes
  • parenting classes

Additionally, you should know that one of your primary goals during the probation period is to keep your hands clean and not incur any other charges for criminal activity.

4. Will I Need Supervised or Unsupervised Probation?

More likely than not, you are going to need supervised probation. It is less common (though not impossible) to qualify for unsupervised probation – but again, it depends on the nature and severity of your offense as well as your past.

5. What Happens if I Fail to Meet the Probation Requirements?

This is a bad road to take, and you don’t want to experience the consequences. If you violate the terms of your probation or you stop reporting altogether, your probation officer is required by law to report you to the court system. In turn, they will issue a warrant for your arrest.

Even if your offense was a misdemeanor or you think it wasn’t heinous enough to attract the attention of the law, breaking your probation can quickly escalate the amount of trouble you are in and multiply the consequences. In the end, a judge could sentence you to jail time – though there are other possible alternatives. Either way, there is no good reason to violate the terms of your probation.