Felony probation is a sentencing alternative to prison. It allows convicted felons to serve all or part of their sentence out of custody but under the supervision of a probation officer. Felony probation is also known as “formal probation.”
Not all defendants qualify. A judge determines eligibility by considering a variety of factors, such as the defendant’s criminal history and the severity of the crime committed.
A probation period typically lasts up to two years for non-violent felonies and up to three years for theft involving more than $25,000. During this period, the probationer must adhere to “conditions of probation.” These may include:
- reporting to a probation officer (P.O.) on a regular basis, and
- paying victim restitution.
If the probationer violates these conditions, then a judge may:
- warn the person and reinstate the same terms,
- modify the terms and include harsher conditions, or
- revoke it and send the person to county jail or state prison.
Felony probation only applies in cases of felonies. If a person committed a misdemeanor, then a judge may award a defendant with misdemeanor probation.