Being accused of a crime can be an extremely frightening experience-particularly if it is the first time. Naturally, the first, and most important, concern for most defendants is whether or not they will have to spend any time in jail if they are convicted. As a result, one of the most common questions we are asked is “will I get probation?” While there is no simple way to answer that question, there is a considerable amount of general information relating to probation in San Diego, California that a defendant may find helpful.
First off it is important to understand exactly what probation means to a defendant. People often make the mistake of agree to any length of probation as long as it keeps them from having to spend any time in jail. While this thinking is understandable, it is important to understand the rules, regulations, and requirements that go along with a term of probation as well. In California, an individual can be sentenced to probation in addition to, or in lieu of, a link of incarceration for either a misdemeanor or for some felony offenses. The rules and regulations for felony probation are different than those for misdemeanor probation. Not surprisingly, felony probation is much more formal and more restrictive in most cases. Typically, a defendant is actually sentenced to a link of incarceration but that term of incarceration is suspended and the defendant is allowed to spend that time on probation instead. If you are granted probation, however, and you violate the terms of the probation you can be ordered to serve the time that was ordered as a suspended sentence in jail or prison.
Whether or not you give probation if you are convicted is determined either by the terms of a plea agreement or by the sentencing judge. In fact, even if the terms of a plea agreement call for you to do probation instead of jail time the judge will ultimately have to approve those terms. While each case is unique, some factors that make it more likely that you will receive probation instead of jail time include:
- The level of offense-conviction of a misdemeanor offense is more likely to receive probation than conviction of a felony offense.
- The type of offense-non-violent offenses are more often considered for probation than violent offenses.
- Victim input-if there is a victim involved, the victim’s wishes will often play a significant role in determining whether you get probation.
- Your criminal history-if you have a lengthy criminal history you are less likely to receive probation then if you have little or no criminal history.
Talk to your San Diego criminal defense attorney about the specific facts and circumstances of your case to get a better idea whether you will get probation if you are convicted.