Probation = Oversight

Crime and punishment, they go hand and hand when a defendant is convicted in a court of law. As we all know, punishment can, and often does, include monetary fines and jail time; what some folks don’t quite understand, however, is that governmental oversight is also often part of the punitive mix. This oversight is called, ‘probation’.

Probation is a set of conditions that a defendant will have to abide by for possibly several years after his case is resolved. Conditions of probation are issued by the court that heard the person’s case, and violating probationary conditions will lead to more court proceedings and possibly more probationary conditions. What the probation requirements are will depend on a number of determining factors, to include what specific court heard the case. For instance, large courts often have a designated probation department, with a large staff and numerous probation officers. Smaller courts, on the other hand, often just have the court staff oversee probation requirements.

In domestic violence cases, the probation requirements can be extremely strict and can be broken down into two specific types of categories – affirmative conditions and prohibitive conditions. Affirmative conditions are things that folks must do in order to comply with their sentence. For example, in Seattle, one of the affirmative conditions the prosecutor often asks the court to impose is to have the defendant enter and complete a state-certified treatment program specializing in domestic violence. Other such affirmative conditions can include, but are not limited to, alcohol or drug counseling, parenting classes and victim’s panels. Contra to affirmative conditions is prohibitive conditions. Prohibitive conditions are those that dictate what a defendant can’t do. For example, prohibitive conditions often require a defendant to have no contact with people involved in the case, such as family members or the accuser, and not to commit certain crimes, like stalking or assault.

Often in domestic violence cases a probation officer is assigned to oversee the case, and court staff will periodically check in to make sure the defendant is following through with his probation requirements. Each probation officer, or member of the court staff, has their own way of overseeing a defendant’s probation progress. Some are lenient, and are willing to work with the defendant to ensure full compliance, and others are hard and will report a defendant for even the smallest probation violation, no matter how negligible or accidental the violation may be.

In dealing with the criminal court system over the past two decades, one thing has become crystal clear – probation can be one of the most frustrating aspects of our criminal justice system. This is so because defendants generally don’t like being ‘watched over,’ and contrarily the courts don’t trust that defendants can function without appropriate oversight, go figure.

if you or a loved has been arrested for a domestic violence related crime in King County, Washington immediately contact a Seattle domestic violence attorney to protect your rights and interests. The Seattle domestic violence attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle domestic violence criminal defense lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those arrested for crime all across Western Washington and the Greater Puget Sound region. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the criminal allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances of the given case. So, whether cited for domestic violence related malicious mischief, assault, property destruction or some other crime, protect yourself … call SQ Attorneys immediately.

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