If an individual is charged with a crime, the possibility exists that, instead of a prison term, the court may order the individual be placed on probation. While this possibility may seem like a desirable option, in most instances, it does come with mandatory conditions that must be satisfied to successfully complete the probation term. Regardless of the potential sentence, though, once an individual has been charged with a crime, it is crucial to retain the services of a criminal defense attorney, to avoid combatting the government alone. One particularly pressing concern about conditions of probation is whether a probationer is able to post whatever he/she wants on his/her social media platforms, especially in light of the First Amendment’s protection of free speech. However, as a California court noted, that right is legally curtailed by probation conditions designed to rehabilitate him and protect the victim. Specifically, the court noted that social-media posts could endanger the victim, and that there were other ways the probationer could communicate. A discussion of the types of probation in California, as well as common conditions imposed on probation orders, will follow below.
Probation in California
In California, if you are convicted of a crime, you may be placed on probation, which is a suspension of a prison sentence and the order of a conditional and revocable release of the convicted individual to the community. Thus, when a convicted individual accepts probation, he/she will get a reduced or eliminated prison sentence, with the understanding that he/she will be eligible for additional prison time if the probation order is violated.
California offers two types of probation – formal and summary. Formal probation involves supervision by a probation department, whereas summary probation is supervised by the ordering court. In either case, however, violators will face being ordered to serve the balance of the sentence in prison/jail. Additionally, formal probation is intended to be an alternative to a prison sentence, whereas summary probation can be combined with prison, fines, classes, and/or community service.
If an individual is granted probation, there are typically various conditions that will be required for a successful completion of the probation order. The failure to follow or meet any of the conditions could result in the probation order being revoked, and the individual being sentenced to prison. The following are some of the more common conditions included as part of a probation order:
- Probationers may not be permitted to leave the jurisdiction during the term of their probation. Additionally, in the case of sex offenders, probationers may be restricted as to how close to a school, park, or other place where children gather they may live.
- As the case above illustrates, a probationer’s ability to communicate or post online may be limited.
- Contact with Minors. Most often invoked in crimes of a sexual nature involving children, probationers may be prohibited from coming into contact with minors.
- All probation orders require the individual be employed, and remain so during the term of the order.
- Some probationers may be required to sit for a polygraph test to ascertain his/her mental state and recent actions.
- Given the nature of this holiday, some probationers, particularly those convicted of sexual-related crimes, may not be permitted outside of their house on this day.
- Warrantless Search. By being on probation, and most commonly in drug cases, a probationer agrees to submit to a search of his/her person or property without a warrant.
- A court may impose a restriction on whom the probationer is allowed to associate while on probation. This is seen most common for gang-related crimes.
Speak to a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a crime, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Manshoory Law Group, APC as soon as possible. Our knowledge and experience in California criminal law is extensive, and can help ensure that any punishment ordered is as minimal an as possible. If probation is ordered, we can ensure that you know each of the conditions of the probation order so that violations are avoided. Our Los Angeles attorneys are available 24/7 to take your call. Contact us today for a free case analysis.