Probation is essentially the suspension of a criminal sentence. It is put on hold to sort of give you a second chance… if you follow the terms of the probation that are set down for you. Failure to meet these terms, known as “probation violation,” could result in revocation of your probation.
What happens then?
In the worst-case scenarios, you could be sent to jail or prison to serve the full sentence you were given when convicted.
Due to these quite serious consequences, it is imperative to understand the terms of your probation, and to avoid committing a violation.
Importantly, many probation violations are committed inadvertently – a lot of people simply aren’t aware of the terms of their probation, and unintentionally violate these terms due to ignorance. However, this is not a defense, and you will still face criminal consequences if you unintentionally violate your probation.
Don’t be ignorant. Learn the rules you need to follow. These can vary from person to person, but there are many standard terms that are essentially a part of every probation in Minnesota.
Below, we’re going to outline common probation conditions, and how to ensure that you avoid a violation. We also discuss the probation violation process, and what you can expect if you’re charged with a probation violation.
Probation Reporting Conditions in Minnesota
While under probation, you must report to and contact your probation officer as directed, and also report any changes of employment, address, or contact information.
Probation reporting conditions include:
- Notifying your probation officer within 72 hours if your workplace, home address, or phone number change
- Reporting to your probation officer and/or groups as directed.
- Promptly replying to any communication from the Community Corrections office.
Probation Regulatory Conditions in Minnesota
While under probation, commission of any criminal offense is considered a probation violation. You must also avoid substance use, and in many cases undergo drug testing to confirm your sobriety.
Probation regulatory conditions include:
- Obey all state and federal laws, avoiding any arrest or further criminal charges.
- Abstain from the possession or use of any illegal or non-prescribed controlled substances.
- Do not engage in threatening or assaultive behavior.
- Comply with any search of your person, workplace, or residence directed by your probation officer.
- In drug crime cases, submit to drug testing as required by your probation officer.
- Submit DNA samples if directed by your probation officer.
- For felony convictions, do not possess any firearms, ammunition, or explosives.
Probation Travel or Moving Conditions in Minnesota
Out-of-state travel is restricted while you are under probation, and you must first obtain the permission of your probation officer. If you are caught leaving the state for any reason you will face a probation violation.
Out of state/country conditions are as follows:
- Travel out of the state is limited, and you must obtain permission from your probation officer at least two weeks prior.
- Travel outside of the US is prohibited while on probation.
- Relocation to another state is limited, and it is subject to the approval of your probation officer. If you are moving, you must obtain approval from your probation officer at least three months prior to moving.
Minnesota Probation Violation Process
There are essentially two types of probation violations.
In a technical violation, you may violate probation without even knowing it. For example, if your probation office changes and you do not receive the notice. In a direct probation violation, you directly violate the terms of your probation. For example, by breaking your house arrest or failing a drug test.
If you are charged with a probation violation, you can expect the following:
- An admit/deny hearing, in which you either admit or deny that the probation violation took place. If you admit to the violation, you could be sentenced with an extension of your probation, fines, community service, or imprisonment.
- An evidentiary hearing, in the event that you deny the violation, in which the state must prove that the violation took place. You are found guilty or not guilty based on the evidence the state submits to the court. If you are found not guilty, the terms of your probation remain the same. If you are found guilty, the judge will also determine your penalty.
Both hearings take place in court, but without a jury. A judge will determine your guilt, and if found guilty, your sentencing. The most common sentence for a probation violation is a revocation, in which you must serve the remainder of your original sentence in prison. You may also face hefty criminal fines.
All of this is why it’s so important to be aware of the terms of your probation, and if you are accused of a violation, to fight back and beat your charges.
About the Author:
A former prosecutor and lifelong Minnesotan, Christian Peterson has handled hundreds of criminal cases from both sides of the aisle since he began practicing law in 2006, as well as a wide variety of family law matters. This background allows him to look at situations from all angles and anticipate which arguments the other side may use, increasing his clients’ chances of success. His work has been recognized by the American Society of Legal Advocates, the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys, and National Trial Lawyers, and he has a perfect 10/10 rating from Avvo.