Understanding Misdemeanor Probation in California

Misdemeanor probation, also called summary probation, can be imposed when the defendant is convicted of a misdemeanor crime but does not pose so much of a risk to society that jail time would be a fitting punishment. Misdemeanor probation can be difficult to understand, so it’s important to discuss the terms of your probation with an attorney to ensure that you comply.

Misdemeanor Probation Defined

In California, if you receive misdemeanor probation, it means that a judge has agreed not to impose a jail sentence as long as you comply with the terms set forth in the probation. If you fail to meet the conditions of your probation at any time during your probation, the judge may choose to revoke your probation and you may end up being sentenced to jail time.

Probation Conditions

While the conditions of a misdemeanor probation vary from case to case, the most common conditions include but are not limited to:

  • Mandatory counseling and/or therapy
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol testing
  • Completion of a certain number of hours of community service
  • Pay restitution to the victim of the crime and/or fines to the state
  • Install an ignition interlock device (in cases of DUI)
  • Wear a SCRAM bracelet (in cases of DUI, usually with multiple DUI’s)
  • Seek steady employment
  • Check in with probation officer regularly
  • Agree to not commit any new crimes during the probation period
  • May be subject to a restraining order in the event that the initial offense was domestic violence related
  • Notify your probation officer right away if you change phone numbers or move

Failure to meet any one of these conditions could be detrimental and cause your probation to be revoked entirely. It’s critical that you adhere to the individual conditions of your probation in order to satisfactorily complete the requirements set forth by the court and avoid jail time.

When to Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor, probation may be a good alternative to jail time if you are unable to get the charges against you dismissed. A criminal defense attorney can assist you in petitioning the court for the lightest sentencing possible. If you believe that you may have violated your probation, your attorney can also help defend you against having your probation revoked entirely.

Contact the Law Office of Jennifer Mouzis today to discuss your legal options and to learn more about how misdemeanor probation can affect you. Call now at (916) 822-8702.