Tips for Getting Through Probation in Louisiana
Finding yourself on probation after a criminal charge is one of the most serious life events affecting the way you live. People under community supervision from the court system in Louisiana struggle to meet the probation requirements set for them each day.
The Struggle of Probation
Those who find themselves offered probation out of a criminal case choose to accept the terms of the offer. With the alternative as serving jail or prison time, it is no wonder why this is an easy choice for many. Staying out of lockup while under the court’s supervision is not as easy as some would make you think. Once you accept probation on your case, there are specific requirements you must follow or face finishing out your sentence in jail. Here are a few examples of the requirements placed on probationers.
- Fines, restitution, and fees
- Travel restrictions
- Reporting requirements
- Employment conditions
- Restrictions on with whom you associate
- Punishments for breaking the law
- Serving through community service
- Required attendance in classes and programs
- Drug and alcohol testing
- & more
All of these requirements should be expected when accepting the offer for probation from a court. As not meeting any of these conditions during your time on probation will lead to your arrest and imprisonment, let’s look at the best tips for getting through probation without a probation violation.
1. Understand the Consequences of Not Following Requirements
During the first meeting with your probation officer in Louisiana, you will usually be given the requirements you must follow and the consequences if you do not. As with any public job, however, your new government caretaker will probably be rushed for time. Do not leave the meeting without understanding all of the conditions set forth. This will alleviate any doubts in your mind going forward of what you must do going forward.
2. Put Money Away Each Paycheck
Probation and court fees, along with any restitution you must pay, must take place without default. Not paying these fees will likely result in your probation revoked under a violation faster than many of the other requirements not followed. Since courts take these payments seriously, make sure you put away money towards them after each paycheck.
3. Get Permission Before Traveling
Most probationers are under the requirements to receive permission from the court before traveling outside the area or state. Although some choose to travel without permission, they literally take their own free lives into their own hands when they do.
Getting caught out of the area without permission can be as easy as a traffic stop in another state, resulting in a phone call back to your probation officer. If you have a legitimate reason for travel, you will normally not have issues with getting permission. Make it easy on yourself and talk to your supervisor before traveling.
4. Stay Out of Trouble
Getting yourself arrested is a sure-fire way to lose your probation status. This means not doing the things you did in the past going forward. Whether abusing alcohol and drugs or getting into fights, it’s best to leave these things behind you.
Even what you consider an innocent night out with friends can lead to an arrest when someone is intoxicated. When facing a decision between choices on how to live your life, make the ones that will keep you out of jail or face a probation violation.
5. Never Miss a Check-In
Reporting to your probation officer will be one of the hardest parts of living life on probation. It may not seem hard at first, but when visiting month after month and year after year, these meetings become annoying to many probationers.
Many people who grow discontent begin making excuses not to show up at reporting time, and end up having their probation violated, simply for not coming in. Make up your mind early that no matter how uncomfortable it becomes, you will make all of the required meetings with your probation officer.
6. Finish Community Service Early
There are no secrets in the world of probation, but there are some common themes that take place across all court systems. One of these themes is people who excel on probation have a better chance of finishing earlier than those who don’t.
One of the best ways to show the judge and your probation officer you are serious about taking care of your probation requirements is to finish all of any assigned community service as early as possible. This shows the court that you are doing more than the bare minimum requirements and have taken responsibility for your life. Those who report only the hours they must spend each month or less will not have an opportunity to finish probation early.