Probation in Michigan: What You Need To Know (Part 2)

chained legs

Probation and parole are highly restrictive, but jail and prison are worse.


Thank you for joining us again to discuss being on probation in Michigan. Based on the number of questions we have received from clients on the issue of probation and probation violations in Michigan, we have assembled this question and answer series addressing some of the more common concerns. Picking up where we left off last time, let’s dive right in…


Is it my right to get probation?

Michigan law is very clear about the fact that probation is a privilege, not a right. It is described by the law “as a form of leniency” which allows someone convicted of a crime to continue to live in society, or to re-enter society after a period behind bars.


Many people may not realize it, but probation (even though it can seem very restrictive) is a whole lot better than jail or prison. When you are on probation you get to live in your home, eat at restaurants, visit friends, go shopping, have a job, and engage in the behaviors and tasks that free civilians enjoy. None of these options are available to you behind bars.

What does it mean to violate the conditions of my probation?

Each person who is granted probation by the court is given a list of rules and conditions that they are required to abide by. These are call the terms of probation. A probationer who doesn’t follow the rules, or who does something that isn’t authorized as part of their probation conditions, can be charged with a probation violation. In many cases, violating probation is punished with incarceration, either in jail or in prison.


What counts as a probation violation?

There are a wide range of things that could count as a possible violation of your probation, depending on what terms of probation the court imposed. Some common violations include:


  • failing to pay court ordered fines or restitution
  • being arrested for a new crime while you are on probation
  • failing to complete a court-ordered program, like substance abuse counseling or anger management classes
  • changing your residence without authorization, or without notifying your probation officer
  • failing a drug or alcohol test (this is sometimes called a “dirty drop”)
  • missing a scheduled appointment with your probation officer
  • failure to appear at a scheduled court appointment
  • leaving the state without the prior permission of your probation officer
  • associating with a known criminal
  • failing to maintain school or employment


Not every one of these will be ordered by the court for every probationer. However, these are very common probation conditions and you can expect that most, if not all, of them would apply to you if you were placed on probation in Michigan. Violating a court ordered condition of your probation usually has serious consequences.


Join us next time, as we wrap up this series with a talk about what happens when you are suspected of violating your probation, and what you can expect after that. Until then, if you or a loved one are accused of violating parole or probation, or are accused of a crime in Michigan, contact our skilled criminal defense attorneys immediately at 866-766-5245. An attorney is standing by 24/7 to take your call and help you make the right legal choices in your unique situation.

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