People who are on probation in either District or Superior Court in Massachusetts are free -- up to a point. There are several important conditions that probationers in Massachusetts Courts must meet, or risk going to jail. These conditions can be anything that the judge in the case chooses to impose, but commonly include:
· Meeting regularly with a probation officer
· Visits from the probation officer at home or work
· Attending counseling (such as a certified batterers’ program)
· Not leaving the city, county or state
· Random drug or alcohol testing
· Not committing any crimes
Failing to abide by any probation term, even accidentally, can result in a charge for a probation violation. That’s very serious, because probationers have fewer rights than other criminal defendants. Probationers are ineligible for bail and face a lower burden of proof to be found in violation. The penalties for probation violations vary, but frequently include having the original sentence reinstated -- which may mean going back to jail or prison -- longer probation and more restrictions on your rights and movement. With serious penalties for even a minor violation, those charged with probation violation should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as they can.
Because probation is so restrictive, many probation violations are truly accidental. Emergencies and overtime at work can easily lead to a charge for failure to report to an officer, the most common probation violation in Massachusetts. If you are facing severe penalties for a simple probation violation.The sooner an skilled criminal defense attorney get involved, the better you can protect your freedom. With early intervention, your attorney can often argue for penalties that better fit the situation and avoid the imposition of a committed sentence.