Probation- Setting You Up to Fail

I was in the 48th District Court last Thursday, and as I waited for my case to be called, I watched the Judge send six different Defendants to jail for violating probation.
If you commit a crime, a Judge only has a couple of options. Usually, if this is your first offense, you will pay fines and spend the next 12 months on probation. Typically probation entails reporting once a month to a probation officer at the Court, community service, and, more likely than not, not being allowed to drink or use drugs. This last requirement is generally enforced through random testing.

The other option the judge has is to send you to jail in the first place. And some defendants are willing to spend 93 days in the county jail rather than endure the requirements of probation or having to pay the fines.

If you are willing to submit to the Court’s oversight, probation, be advised you are being set up to fail. Because if you fail, like the Defendant’s last Thursday, you will ultimately end up in jail. Most of the people I saw last week failed to abstain from alcohol, were a couple minutes late to test, (which is considered a failure), or missed a probation meeting because they couldn’t get time off from work.

Bottom line, if you are willing to accept probation, make sure you understand that any failure to do exactly what the Judge rules, will likely result in doing jail time that you could have done in the first place without the Court monitoring your life for the next year.