Probation in North Carolina

by | Oct 2, 2018 | Blog Posts, NC Criminal Defense

Probation in North Carolina Criminal casesprobation in North Carolina

Probation in North Carolina is one of the many consequences that you may face if you are convicted of a crime in NC. If you have been charged with a crime you should hire a criminal defense attorney. If you can’t afford one you should ask that one be appointed to you.  You should not handle your criminal case yourself even though it is your right to do so. Criminal defense lawyers are trained to understand the consequences that you face.  One of those consequences is probation.  In this blog, we will talk about probation in North Carolina and what that entails.

Is probation always best?

We have seen many potential clients ask about probation in North Carolina without truly understand what it is and what it entails.  People think that probation is simply a good alternative to serving jail time, but it is more complicated than that.  In fact, we have had clients request to serve time in jail in lieu of getting probation, and it was the right decision for them under their circumstances.

What is probation?

Probation in North Carolina is a punishment imposed by judges upon conviction of a crime that requires the defendant to follow a certain set of rules or accomplish certain things within a set period of time.

A suspended sentence is imposed as well as some rules and restrictions.  A suspended sentence is simply a jail or prison sentence that is decided by the judge, but it doesn’t have to be served as long as the terms and conditions of probation are adhered to.  Suspended sentences can be a few days or several years.

During probation the defendant is required to follow certain conditions. Conditions of probation are covered under North Carolina general statute 15A-1343.

What types of probation are there?

Probation can either be unsupervised or supervised. This will depend on the crime that the defendant was convicted of and the sentence the judge imposes.

Unsupervised probation

Unsupervised probation is as straight forward as it sounds.  During your period of probation, you will not have to report to anyone other than coming back to court for a review hearing at some specified date.  If you are under unsupervised probation you can simply adhere to your responsibilities of the court and go on about your normal routine.

Supervised probation

Supervised probation requires you to report to a probation officer regularly.  You will also have specific rules to follow regarding employment, notifying the officer of your contact information and residence. You may also be subject to drug testing.

When is probation an option?

Not every crime is eligible for probation in North Carolina.  Some crimes, upon conviction, require active time in prison or jail.  The North Carolina Misdemeanor sentencing guidelines, the North Carolina felony sentencing guidelines, and the federal sentencing guidelines outline when probation is available.

What happens if I violate my probation

If someone violates the terms of their probation, things can get very serious very fast.  This leads to a probation violation action where your probation can be extended or your probation can be revoked.  If your probation is revoked you may have to serve your suspended sentence, which can often be quite lengthy.

If you have been charged with crime, you should hire a criminal defense lawyer immediately. Contact us for more information.


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