December 9, 2023
Judges will often commute a prison sentence to probation, especially for first-time and/or low-level offenders. Under probation, your prison sentence is suspended and you are allowed to remain in the community.
However, although probation is clearly preferable to incarceration, it also comes with stringent terms that you are obligated to follow. Failure to comply with probation terms and conditions may result not only in the revocation of your probation, but also additional penalties such as the reinstitution of your original prison sentence and fines.
In fact, the terms of probation are so stringent that many people violate their probation unintentionally. However, regardless of your intent, you will face consequences for any probation violations.
So how do you avoid violating your probation?
In order to help Coloradans avoid probation violations, we’ve put together a guide covering common terms of probation, and how you can avoid violating them.
Common Probationary Terms and Conditions in Colorado
The specific terms of your Colorado probation are laid out by the court system. If you are unsure about the terms of your probation, it’s always best to check in with your probation officer and/or defense attorney – you’re always better off safe than sorry.
Although the conditions of a probation sentence will vary from case to case, some of the most common terms and conditions for probation include:
Reporting to a probation officer. If you are sentenced to probation, you will most likely be required to report to a probation officer regularly. Failure to report to your probation officer on your scheduled time and date could result in a probation violation charge.
Restitution. Depending on the nature of the offense, you may be required to pay restitution or fines to the community, or to the crime’s alleged victim.
Firearm possession. You will most likely be barred from possessing or purchasing any firearm or ammunition while under probation.
Drug or alcohol use. Depending on the alleged crime, you may be barred from using drugs or alcohol, with exception to medications prescribed by your physician. Additionally, you may also be barred from visiting locations where alcohol or controlled substances are sold, and be required to submit to routine drug testing. If you fail your drug test or are found under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may be charged with a probation violation.
Restrictions on leaving Colorado or the US. You will most likely be prohibited from traveling outside the state of Colorado or leaving the US while on probation. It is usually possible to obtain special permission from your probation officer, but this must be done ahead of your travel date.
Obeying all laws. The terms of your probation will most likely require that you obey all laws, including seemingly minor laws such as traffic and jaywalking laws. If you violate any additional laws, even if they are very minor violations, you may be charged with probation violation.
Securing lawful employment. You may be required to maintain employment while under probation, and to alert your employer that you are on probation.
Protective orders. If you have been charged with domestic violence, a protective order will most likely be a term of your probation.
Special Probationary Conditions in Colorado
In addition to the standard probationary terms, the courts may impose special conditions based on the circumstances of the alleged offense.
Common examples of special probation terms include:
- Obtaining a GED or high school diploma
- Attending 12-Step meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous
- Avoiding certain people and places
- Domestic violence treatment programs
- Electronic monitoring
- Mental health care
- Drug rehabilitation programs
If you are on probation and worried about taking a wrong step, do not wait – make sure that you understand all terms of your probation. Should you violate probation, we recommend consulting with an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney, who will give you the best chance at avoiding further penalties.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.