Warning: Every state and situation is different, seek professional legal advise.The information presented here is not intended to be substitute or replace a lawyer. This is for information only, we don’t take liability in any form, your actions are your own.
Why are you on probation?
No matter the charge, when it comes to legal issues, it’s always best to get an attorney. No two cases are every the same. There are a number of factors that can impact the your trial.
Age, offense, relation and implication, just to name a few. That being said, if you have already been charged and found guilty, there will be legal ramifications. This can include jail time, probation and or public service.
Most, if not all probation cases require random drug testing. UA or urine screenings are the most commonly used form of testing. But this doesn’t rule out hair, blood or saliva screening just to name a few. You should have a good idea of what to expect, in consideration of your charges.
The punishment is meant to fit the crime. If you are on probation due to drug charges, expect to be tested for drugs. Same hold true for alcohol related offenses. If involved in a DWI, expect to be tested for alcohol use.
Responsibilities of a Parole Officer
Your PO, Parole Officer is not your friend, but also not necessarily your enemy. They serve the system and the tax payers. If you have been charged with a crime, but allowed to serve probation. The same court system that pays the PO has entrusted you to willfully remain lawful.
Once assigned, the parole officer is responsible for your actions to an extent. Their main function is to monitor and evaluate “you” as a risk. Simply put, for the PO each case has only two desired out comes:
- You complete parole with out issue
- You go behind bars before committing another crime
On the probation officers part, a failure is not preventing another crime. Some officers may consider a violation as a way to alleviate responsibility.
Meeting your Probation Officer for the First Time
Expect a lot of questions and most likely a drug or alcohol test. Some may even be sent home with a questionnaire packet to fill out.
Like the saying goes, “First impression mean everything“.
Before the meeting:
Your parole will have fully researched your case and history. A profile is established and procedure is outlined. The PO already knows what questions to ask, what type of testing should be used, etc..,
You are expected to be in good behavior and give the appearance of honesty. Any length of time between the judicial findings and meeting your PO is taken into consideration.
During the Meeting:
The PO wants to trust you. If you seem trust worthy, honest and responsible. The easier the probation officers job will be. Remember you are just on of many case that your PO may be responsible for at the time.
- Speak to your attorney before hand
- Appear open and honest
- Not volunteer extra detail or information unless directly asked
- Think before answering
- Not appear to be holding back
- Clean up your act
- Use proper judgment
The first probation meeting usually lasts about an hour. This is only the face to face and doesn’t include any wait or testing times. The total length of time depends on your situation.
You will get drug tested?
Expect to be tested for any illegal substances, not just at your first meeting, but at all times. At this first meeting it is especially important to be honest. If new information is going to surface, volunteer it as an act of good faith. Let me give you an hypothetical example:
Mary was found guilty of drug use and possession. Being the first offense, the court decides on probation. Within the next day, Mary is to meet her PO. Please take note that, only 3 days have passed since Mary was arrested.
Her PO requests a drug screening, but before administering it asks, “Are you clean?, what should I expect?“. The right answer is, “no, I have used drugs in the recent past…“
There is noway Mary would have passed, the PO knows this. So why did the PO ask? It is a simple test of your honesty. It is impossible to have tested negative for drugs within such a short period.
What Happens if You Fail
That depends on your situation. In the scenario like the one above, failure is expected but your case may be different. The PO knows how long it takes to naturally detox from drugs. The officer expects you to test clean after that period.
If you have had enough time to have tested clean and failed. This is an indication of recent and illegal drug use. This can lead to a few different out comes:
- A warning
- Found in violation
- Sent to drug court
- Required to attend an addiction program
- A combination of the above
You have been warned
If you have been previously tested and relapsed, chances are very likely that you will be faced with full sentencing and jail time.
Courts and most legal entities will see no excuse for repeated violations. It would show negligence on the part of the probation officer as well as the state. High risk cases like such present a real danger to the public and criminal.
Should you ask for help?
Yes, if you have a drug problem, consider thins an opportunity to get help. Some people may never get the chance to receive professional help or assistance from the state.
Similar issues are not alway a bad thing. Requesting help may even get you out of a probationary program and into a more nurturing environment.
- Rules for Probation: http://www.nyep.uscourts.gov/html/conditions_of_probation.html
- Conditions of Probation: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/3563
- DOJ drug testing : https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/dtest.pdf