Put simply, probation is a type of legal supervision the court imposes on a person who has broken the law. A person can be sentenced to this supervision instead of jail time or after jail time has been completed. There are several types of probation, so let’s look at some of the similarities and differences there.

Types of Probation

House Arrest

Thanks to Hollywood, this is what most people think of when they hear the term “probation.” House arrest requires constant monitoring with specific limitations applied to a person’s travels. The legal system constantly monitors the person’s whereabouts to ensure they remain within the limits of their prescribed areas. This may seem very restrictive, but this is still considered to be freer than being in prison.


A person sentenced to standard probation must regularly report to their court appointed officer and abide by the conditions the court sets.


Legal systems sometimes describes this type of probation as “non-reporting”. As such, this person does not have to report to a officer, but they do still have terms that they must abide by.

Drug Offender

Included in the terms of this probation is a requirement to attend a substance abuse program and regular drug testing.

Sexual Offender

The terms of this type of probation can mandate that a person undergo a sex-offender treatment program in addition to the other conditions.

What Are You Able To Do?

For the most part, you can go most places. It is common to require an individual to be in school, maintain a job, or be seeking employment for the duration of their supervision. In fact, depending on the type of supervision and conditions that they are assigned, they can lead a pretty normal life. Just expect to have regular meetings with an officer and to abide by the conditions and terms the court decides. House arrest, on the other hand, requires special permissions be given to go anywhere.

What Happens If You Violate The Terms?

If you violate your terms of probation, you may be arrested or have a warrant issued for your arrest. Hearings for probation violations are much different than criminal trials. There will be no jury in the courtroom. Instead, it is up to the judge to determine whether you violated probation, whether to keep you on probation under supervision or instead be sentence a violator to an jail or prison sentence. The burden will be on the State to prove by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) that you substantially, willfully, and knowingly violated your probation.

Failing to report to your officer, failing to abide by the terms of your probation, or committed a new violation of the law are some violations of probation.

Is Early Termination Possible?

It is possible to end your probation early. However, that typically only occurs when the following have been completed by the probationer:

  • The individual in question completes at least half of their sentence.
  • The individual follows all terms of probation.
  • The person pays all of the fines and fees the court demands.

If you check all of the conditions off, all you need is a skilled lawyer to file a Motion for Early Termination of Probation on your behalf.