What Factors Affect the Length of a Probation Period?

Article Details
  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 09 February 2020
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
Arguably the world’s first “cat video,” a short film from 1894 shows cats "boxing" in Thomas Edison's studio.  more...

February 17 ,  1820 :  The Missouri Compromise was passed.  more...

Probation is sometimes offered to convicted criminals in place of jail time, with the length of time varying depending on a few factors. Not surprisingly, the typical misdemeanor probation period is usually much shorter than the usual felony probation length of time. The criminal record of the person facing probation also usually plays a part in determining the probation period. Additionally, the judge can alter the probation length depending on specific details of each case, including recent behavior and the type of crime committed.

Misdemeanor convictions can often result in probation rather than jail time, though it is up to the court to approve or deny this option. Misdemeanors usually include child endangerment, DUI, domestic violence, petty theft, and drug use, to name a few crimes that qualify. In many cases involving these and other minor crimes, the probation period could last up to five years, though this maximum could vary depending on the area's laws. Most states have minimum and maximum sentences, and the exact probation length is usually dependent on how serious the crime is.


Felony convictions often require much longer probation periods than misdemeanors, with the maximum being life on probation for particularly serious crimes. The longest periods of supervised probation are usually reserved for the most violent crimes. In fact, in determining the appropriate probation period for a felony, the damage done to the victim is often considered. Of course, this often means that crimes without any discernible victims can be punished with less time on supervised probation than those that have one or more victims.

In cases that go to court, the judge usually has the final say in the details of the probation period, though the probation officer can usually make a recommendation for a certain length of time. Some crimes, however, come with required minimum and maximum sentences that the judge cannot alter. When making a decision, the judge usually factors in the offender's criminal record, taking the types of crimes committed in the past into consideration so that the chances of recidivism may be determined. The probation period may be shortened with good behavior, but typically at least one third of the sentence must be served, and any fines, community service, or classes must be completed before the supervised probation period can end. It should be noted that some states specify crimes that are not eligible for probation, such as sex crimes or kidnapping for example.


You might also Like


Discuss this Article

Post 1

No one will hire me. I have had two years of college and want to finish my degree but what is the point if no one will hire me due to misdemeanors. How can I can get them expunged?

I should not have 80 percent of the misdemeanors I have, but I didn't understand the law or have a good lawyer for three that I have for shoplifting. I am 42. I need help to get those off my record. Is it possible? I want to work and finish college,

I am a single mother with a child whose father is deceased. I am stuck living at home with my parents for the rest of my life if I can't

get a job and get rid of these six misdemeanors that range for the time I was 21 until now. I am extremely depressed and want out of the welfare system that is barely enough to survive on, plus I am capable of finishing college and getting a degree. I already have two years of college.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?