What is Probation?

Officer Stallings, School Resource Officer

Officer Stallings:

Probation is part of “sentencing” in our Criminal Justice System. If a person is charged with a crime, they go to court and either their case is dismissed, they take a plea deal, or they may be convicted of the crime they were initially charged with. Upon conviction, an offender is sentenced within the range set forth by Colorado Revised Statutes. There are several types of sentencing such as fines, probation, imprisonment, and possibly the death penalty.

If someone is sentenced to probation, they are usually assigned a probation officer to manage their case. Probation can require a variety of things, such as random drug testing, classes and/or therapy, community service, attendance in school or employment, an ankle monitor, financial restitution to victim(s), and to not reoffend during the length of probation. If the person doesn’t meet their probation conditions, their probation could be revoked and there would be some kind of consequence. Some consequences could be additional criminal charges, fees, and time in jail.

Here’s an example…a juvenile is charged with third degree assault which is a Class 1 Misdemeanor. The juvenile goes to court and is found guilty and convicted of the assault charge. The sentencing range in the State of Colorado for Class 1 Misdemeanors is a minimum of six months imprisonment or a $500 fine, or both. The maximum sentence is 18 months of imprisonment or a $5000 fine, or both. If the offender qualifies for probation, the Judge could sentence anywhere within the range provided and the imprisonment could be replaced with “probation,” meaning there might not be any actual jail time.  While a person is on probation, they must meet the requirements.  If they do so successfully, probation ends and the person moves on with their lives.  

In Longmont, when a juvenile is issued a Municipal summons or citation, probation may include the opportunity to participate in a program called REWiND which was created to provide more support and resources to those who have committed a crime or crimes in an attempt to address the underlying issue and prevent additional poor decision-making.  Please see https://www.longmontcolorado.gov/departments/departments-e-m/municipal-court/r-e-w-i-n-d for more information about the program.