The Process Of Probation For Drug Offenders In New York

Interviewer: When is probation going to come into play? What does probation mean? What’s going to happen?  How does that differ from the other things?

Glen Malia: There are two different options for a non-jail sentence. If you are being sentenced and if you’re not being sentenced to jail, there are two options.  One is what they call a conditional discharge and the other is probation.  What the conditional discharge is you’re told that for a certain period of time, it’s generally one year, you can’t be convicted of any new crime. You basically have to stay out of trouble, sometimes the conditional discharge may also mandate you do community service, may mandate you complete a program or something of that nature. So long as you don’t violate any of those conditions of the conditional discharge, there’s nothing else you’ll have to do, you don’t have to report to anybody, you don’t have to go back to court at all and stuff like that.  After the one year period is up, the conditional discharge is over, then you’re free to do whatever it is you want. If you violate the conditional discharge, then the court can order you to come back to court and they can re-sentence you to whatever the maximum sentence was under the charge that you pled guilty to.

The Two Non-Jail Alternatives Available are Conditional Discharges and Probation

The second non-jail alternative is probation. Now, for misdemeanors in New York State, if it’s a class B misdemeanor, the probation is one year; if it’s a class A misdemeanor, it’s generally 3-years but the judges now have the ability to give a 2-year probation on a class A misdemeanor, if it’s a felony, it’s 5 years.  However, most, of the drug charges do apply but when we’re dealing with probation, if it’s a certain designated charge, if that deals with child abuse and stuff like that, sexual abuse, it’s double whatever the normal probation is.  So, with the felony, it’ll be 10 years and with class A misdemeanor, it’ll be 6 years. Probation is, is a supervised program where you have to report to a probation officer, generally it starts with every week and then it may be reduced to monthly and then it goes to every couple of months and things of that nature.

It is Imperative to Report to a Probation Officer and Not Get Arrested on Any New Charges

You have to report to a probation officer and you’ve got to not get arrested on any new charges. Frequently the conditions of probation will prohibit you from drinking, hanging out with other criminal defendants but the most important thing is you do have to report to the probation officer and you have to do whatever the probation officer basically asks you to do. Since we’re talking about drug charges mostly today, that would be to be evaluated for substance abuse problem to go through treatment and things of that nature inpatient to outpatient, whatever type of treatment the probation officer asks you to do.  Whatever the probation officer asks you to do, you got to do.

The Basic Difference Between a Conditional Discharge and Probation is Reporting to the Probation Officer

What basically I tell my client is if you’re going on probation, you’ve got to remember your probation officer can be your best friend and can become your worst enemy.  If the probation officer asks you to jump, you don’t ask why, you ask how high. After the probation period is up, then your probation is over whether it’s one year, two year or three years.  Once again, like in conditional discharge, if you violate any of the conditions, then you can be brought back into court in violation of probation and if found in violation, the court can re-sentence you to any sentence that was permissible when you’re originally sentenced.  So, the big difference is reporting to a probation officer.

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