An Overview of Misdemeanor Probation

An Overview of Misdemeanor Probation

An Overview of Misdemeanor Probation

Misdemeanor probation, also called summary probation, is one of two forms of probation in California with the other being felony probation. Instead of going to jail, the defendant in a case can serve his or her sentence under supervision. This article will provide a brief overview of some of the salient points regarding misdemeanor probation.


Eligibility for Misdemeanor Probation

While it ultimately comes down to the judge to determine what is appropriate, those who have been convicted of a misdemeanor offense can serve probation. Furthermore, someone can be found guilty of a misdemeanor crime while also having a previous criminal history. Depending on the context of that history and the current crime, even repeat offenders can receive probation. However, probation is only offered if the defendant will accept it and its conditions.


What Happens During Probation

In some cases, misdemeanor probation does not require going to jail while others may have to be in jail for a certain number of days. You may have often heard of a probation officer while watching criminal or procedural TV shows and while these people do exist in real life, someone serving misdemeanor probation does not have a probation officer. Instead, the person must go to court and present their progress directly to a judge. However, if the defendant does not appear for a scheduled report, then they have committed a probation violation called failure to appear. At a subsequent probation violation hearing, the defendant can argue against the violation.


While those on misdemeanor probation can still travel freely, they can have other probation conditions that force them to remain in their home location. For example, a judge can mandate that the defendant attend therapy or counseling, pay fines, and other conditions relevant to their criminal offense. Some judges will also allow the early termination of probation if all conditions have been met (although this relies heavily on the judge’s discretion).


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