Violate probation (unknowingly), go to jail?

The complications in life can result in a person's legal trouble. And then, the law is complicated in itself. When someone is charged with a criminal offense in Massachusetts, it is a common goal for them to try to avoid serving any jail time. In many cases, that goal is achieved. 

But freedom might be just a mistake away from being taken from you.

This post is a reminder that probation is not a free pass. Staying out of jail following a criminal conviction is a relief. Serving probation, however, is a punishment that comes with specific stipulations. You must understand and follow them in order to try to protect your freedom. 

What are the common terms of probation in Massachusetts? Specifics will depend on individual cases, but the following are some go-to requirements for those serving probation:

  • No subsequent arrests
  • No carrying weapons
  • Regular meetings with a probation officer
  • Drug and alcohol treatment
  • School attendance
  • Clean drug tests
  • Limits on travel/moving

Someone who has been sentenced to probation should try to fully understand the specific terms of their particular probation and ask questions when in doubt. Lack of knowledge doesn't necessarily mean that a court will not find you guilty of violating probation.

Violating the terms also doesn't necessarily mean you will go to jail. The assistance of a skilled defense attorney is crucial in order to successfully argue, for example, that you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. A probation violations defense lawyer can help try to convince a court that you deserve another chance at avoiding incarceration. 

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