The North Carolina justice system has many different options for criminal rehabilitation. If you find yourself facing a criminal conviction, there is no guarantee you will receive a prison sentence. Instead, you can aim for a possible probation sentence.
A probation allows you to remain in the community rather than go to jail. You do have a specific set of rules and tasks to follow in accordance to your sentence, but it is still better than being in an isolated cell surrounded by criminals and correctional officers. Getting probation could be the first step towards rebuilding your life after a conviction, so it is crucial to know your eligibility for it and what these suspensions require you to do.
What crimes can apply for probation?
Generally speaking, any crime can be applicable for a probation sentence. However, certain convictions will be more eligible towards receiving it than others. For example, a first time DUI could have a relatively high chance of receiving probation if it was your only conviction up to that point. It is a misdemeanor, and the government has plenty of drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs in place for you and other offenders to attend.
It may be more difficult to apply for probation if you face felony charges or if you have a previous criminal record. It is not impossible, as people who have committed felonies or violated their probation in the past were still able to avoid jail time. However, it is less likely and your probation sentence will have stricter conditions to coincide with the severity of the crime.
What are my probation conditions?
The length and requirements of your probation are determined by the North Carolina court system. Misdemeanants receive sentences between six months to two years while felons receive between one to three. The court can also extend the period up to five years if they believe it is necessary.
Certain probations also result in different levels of officer supervision and punishments. These penalties include:
- Up to 20 hours of community service with additional fees
- Reporting to probation officer on a frequency they determine
- House arrest with electric monitoring
- Drug and alcohol monitoring and assessment
- A scheduled curfew
- An educational or vocational skills development program
You are also expected to attend all court appearances, pay any fines from your conviction, avoid any illegal actions and follow substance abuse guidelines during this time. Failure to do so can result in the court extending your probation or a jail sentence.
Even if probations are still punishment, they are worth pursuing if you do not have many options outside of jail time. Even with these restrictions in place, probation is not as damaging to your life as a prison sentence can be.