What is probation?
Probation, also known as parole, is an alternative to incarceration offered in state prison systems across the United States, including Mississippi and Tennessee. Typically, incarcerated people will have the opportunity to make a case for their release after serving a portion of their sentence in prison. If granted release, they will serve the remainder of their sentence under supervision. Though specifics can vary, they typically must report to a parole officer to ensure they follow applicable state rules.
What is the probation process like in Mississippi?
After a sentence to probation, a probation officer will conduct an interview and review the rules of the subsequent probationary period. Supervision occurs through meetings, household visits, random drug and alcohol testing or a combination of these events. Probation is overseen by the MDOC’s probation department.
Mississippi has two major types of probation: non-adjudicated and suspended sentences. A non-adjudicated probation entails serving the remainder of a defendant’s prison sentence under probation. If it is determined that they have not done anything wrong, their record will be cleared after the probationary period. Suspended sentence probation occurs when a defendant is sentenced to jail time, but the court suspends the sentence and instead opts for probation.
What is the probation process like in Tennessee?
In Tennessee, probation is the responsibility of the sentencing court. Convicted people can be released on probation by the court or required to serve time in prison. Decisions surrounding an individual released on probation are the responsibility of the sentencing judge. If the terms of the probation are successfully met, the defendant must continue to report to the supervising office until the sentencing judge releases them from the obligation. If an individual violates the terms of their probation, they may have to serve time in prison and the sentencing judge may or may not grant credit for time on probation, depending on the nature and severity of the violation. If the terms of the probation are successfully met, the defendant must continue to report to the supervising office until the sentencing judge releases them from the obligation.
What is a probation violation?
A probation violation is an offense that occurs when you break the terms or conditions of your probation. Probation violation laws vary by state but include ignoring, avoiding, refusing or breaking the terms or conditions of your parole. Common rules across states include reporting to probation officers, paying required fines or restitutions, not possessing illegal drugs and weapons and not being charged with other crimes.
Examples of probation rules in Mississippi:
- Remain within the State of Mississippi unless authorized to leave.
- Waive extradition to the State of Mississippi and not contest any effort by any jurisdiction to return you to the State of Mississippi.
- Pay monthly supervision fees to the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
- Submit to any type of breath, saliva or urine chemical analysis test with the purpose of detecting alcohol or other controlled substances.
Examples of probation rules in Tennessee:
- Do not travel outside the federal judicial district of conviction without permission from the court or probation officer.
- Work full time at a lawful place of employment unless excused.
- Notify third parties of risks due to criminal record or personal history and permit probation officer to make such notifications.
What are the penalties and punishments for violating probation?
Penalties are subject to a judge’s discretion based on the severity of the violation. Lighter penalties can include mandated community service or rehabilitation programs, while severe penalties can include paying large fines/restitution or serving time in jail.
The judge may also revoke the probation opportunity and require the defendant to serve the remainder of their original prison sentence.
When is a probation violation hearing warranted and what are my rights during it?
If a probation violation is alleged, a warrant will likely be issued for the defendant’s arrest. An informal preliminary hearing will take place within 72 hours of their arrest. The hearing is meant to determine if there is reasonable cause that a probation condition was violated.
If reasonable cause is found, a revocation hearing will be scheduled. At the revocation hearing, the defendant has the right to:
- Receive written notice of the claimed violations
- Be heard by a neutral judge in court
- Attorney representation
- Present evidence and witnesses to support their case or refute the evidence against you
At the hearing, a judge looks at a combination of things, including the original probation agreement, the actions that led to an arrest, any mitigating factors and a report from the probation officer. If the judge finds a violation was committed, they will impose a sentence after the hearing.
What should I do if I’m currently struggling with a probation violation?
If you or a loved one are dealing with a probation violation, contact attorney Amy Pietrowski today by calling (662) 372-1622.