Posted on March 10, 2017

Explanation of Probation in Orange County, California

In California, probation is a period of supervision by either the probation department or superior court over an offender.  Normally, the court imposes a period of probation instead of serving time in jail, but it’s not uncommon for a defendant to serve a minimal jail sentence and be placed on probation.

The Orange County Probation Department has two functions within the court system.  First, the department aims to rehabilitated juvenile and adult offenders.  And second, the department is used to investigate the facts of a pending criminal case, and make a recommendation about whether the defendant is probation suitable.

The purpose of probation is for the court to retain jurisdiction.  If someone was sentenced to state prison, then the court would lose jurisdiction and the California Department of Corrections would control.  By granting probation, the court can enforce a defendant to complete the terms or conditions – e.g., stay away order, restraining order, community service, anger management, domestic violence counseling, etc.  Granting probation is also an indicating that the court believes the defendant is capable of rehabilitation and be given a second chance.

You also may be interested in the following other articles: certificate of rehabilitation, expungement, early termination of probation, reducing a felony to a misdemeanor, criminal record sealing, motion to withdraw a guilty plea, and application for governor’s pardon.

Two Types of Probation Status

Informal Probation

Informal probation, also known as “summary probation” is imposed when a defendant commits a misdemeanor offense – e.g., DUI, assault, resisting arrest, or petty theft.  The defendant has no duty to report to the probation department nor does a defendant has an assigned probation officer.  Summary probation is imposed so the court may enforce the terms and conditions of the sentence in the event a defendant fails to complete their obligations.

Formal Probation

Formal probation is typically imposed when someone is convicted of a felony and was not sentenced to state prison.  This is also known as “supervised probation” and a defendant must report monthly to a designated probation officer.  The probation officer supervises the defendant by enforcing terms of their plea, conduct home searches, and ensuring the probationer is remaining law abiding.

Terms and Conditions of Probation

Persons on probation are ordinarily required to surrender their firearms and have search and seizure conditions imposed.  Other terms include curfew, protective/restraining order, educational programs, and to refrain for socializing with other persons on probation or parole.  For those convicted of sex offenses, the probation department may enforce their own conditions of not living with a minor, staying out passed 5PM on Halloween, or even communicating with their own children.

Transferring Probation to Another County in California

For the convenience of the defendant and even probation department, a defendant may petition the court or current probation officer under Penal Code 1203.9 to transfer their probation to another county.  There are certain conditions such as the petitioner must reside in the county where he or she seeks probation transferred, and there must be a finding that the recipient county has the resources and agrees to supervise the defendant.  If the petition is granted, probation is transferred and the new county retains full jurisdiction over the case.

Early Termination of Probation in Orange County

Terminating probation early is codified under CA Penal Code 1203.3 giving the court wide discretion to grant or deny a petition to terminate probation.  Judge’s typically require at least half of the petitioner’s probation period completed and all terms and conditions must be completed without any probation violations.  In addition, there must be a legitimate reason for seeking termination, other than the bare desire not to be on probation anymore.

Contact Us to Schedule a Free Consultation

For more information or to schedule a free consultation, contact an Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers.

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