If I Get Probation, Does That Mean I Don’t Have To Go To Jail? (Pt 1)

If I get probation, do I still have to go to jail? The answer: Maybe…

We get asked this a lot. Going to jail is pretty terrible, and no one wants to do it (understandably!) So if there’s any kind of alternative available, people want to know if it’s an option. But the criminal justice system isn’t Burger King. You can’t have it your way.  

You don’t just get to decide on the punishment you think would be most convenient for you. So if you’re curious about probation in Michigan, and you want to know if it might be an option in your particular situation, here’s some info you need to keep in mind:

How does probation work in Michigan?

Probation can happen before, after, and sometimes instead of jail time. (This sounds confusing, we know, but hang in there…) There’s actually no hard and fast rule for how the court assigns probation. Sometimes you can be sentenced to probation only. Sometimes the ludge sentences you to a combination of time spent in jail and probation.

If you are sentenced to jail as a condition of probation, you might have to serve that time immediately, or you might be able to wait till the end of your probation. We call that “no upfront jail time.” In most cases, when jail time is supposed to be served at the end of your probation, it’s actually waived if you followed all the rules and conditions of your probation the whole time. The court is holding that over your head.

What kind of rules do I have to follow on probation?

Everyone’s situation is different, and a lot of factors (like who the judge is, and what crime you got into trouble for) will influence the terms of your probation. But there are a few basics that get used for most people’s probationary terms. This should give you an idea of what you can expect (It’s not a complete list, but it should give you a good idea of what you cannot do.):

  • Getting arrested again while you’re on probation
  • Not paying your court ordered fines, oversight fees, restitution and court costs
  • Not doing the classes the judge ordered you to do (this could be any of class, from Alcoholics Anonymous or substance abuse treatment, to anger management classes.)
  • Failing a drug test (most people get regular drug or alcohol tests on probation to make sure they’re staying sober – if you have a “dirty drop” you’ll get into lots of trouble!)
  • Not showing up for appointments with your probation officer
  • Hanging out with other people who’ve been convicted of crimes
  • Carrying a weapon
  • Changing your address or job without notifying your probation agent
  • Not showing up for court when you’ve got a scheduled hearing

Having a great criminal defense attorney might help you avoid jail time!

Join us again next time, ’cause we’ve got a few more things we want to tell you about probation. Till then, remember that getting probation isn’t a given if you’re charged with a crime. But having an excellent criminal defense lawyer working hard to get you the best possible results in your case can make it easier to get.

When you’ve been accused of breaking the law in Michigan, and you’re hoping to avoid jail, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245 (866 7No Jail) and talk to one our amazing criminal defense lawyers. We’re here 24/7 to help you. We have helped thousands of clients across the lower peninsula of Michigan.

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