Defining Probation: A Guide to the Rehabilitation Tool

If you’ve been charged with a crime and are facing a prison sentence, the alternative of probation may be an option. Probation is an often-misunderstood form of punishment; understanding what this process involves and how lawyers can help is essential for making informed decisions regarding your legal situation. This blog post will provide you with information about probation, its benefits, types, and how attorneys like those at the Lepley, Lepley Engelman Yaw & Wilk can assist those in need throughout the process.

What is Probation?

Probation is a legal alternative to imprisonment, allowing a person found guilty of an offense to stay in the community, usually under conditions and under the supervision of a probation officer. A violation of probation can lead to revocation and imprisonment.

Types of Probation

There are two types of probation: unsupervised (informal) and supervised. The kind of probation imposed on an offender is influenced by the specifics of the crime committed and the discretionary power of the judge.

Unsupervised Probation:

This type of probation, often given to first-time or low-risk offenders, does not require regular check-ins with a probation officer, but offenders must stay out of legal trouble.

Supervised Probation:

Offenders must regularly meet with a probation officer and comply with set terms, such as attending counseling or performing community service.

Remember, the goal of probation is rehabilitation and the prevention of further criminal behavior rather than punishment.

Benefits of Probation

Probation offers a range of benefits, such as maintaining stability, cost-effectiveness, rehabilitation opportunities, and the possibility of a clean slate. On probation, offenders can continue working and contribute to society, which provides a structure and minimizes disruption in their lives. It's a cost-effective alternative to incarceration, costing taxpayers just a few dollars per day compared to hundreds for prison. Probationers also offset some expenses through monthly fees, fines, or restitution. Additionally, probation allows for evaluation and potential rehabilitative efforts. Treatment professionals can impart crucial coping mechanisms for daily life as issues arise. Furthermore, a unique advantage for first-time offenders is the possibility of having their criminal record expunged upon successful completion of probation, primarily through specialized programs where charges are dropped. Procedures for expungement vary by state; hence, offenders need to file a motion to request it with the court.

What Happens When Probation is Violated?

When probation is violated, the consequences can vary significantly based on the severity of the violation, the presence of any previous violations, and local laws. A Probation Officer will typically report the breach to a court, and a judge may issue a warrant for the probationer's arrest. The probationer must then appear in court for a probation violation hearing. If found guilty, the judge may extend the probation period, impose additional probation terms, require participation in community service, order the probationer to spend time in jail, or even sentence the probationer to serve the remainder of the original prison sentence.

How Can the Offices of Lepley, Engelman, Yaw, and Wilk Help?

With offices in Williamsport, Lewisburg, and the Southern Tier in Pennsylvania, The Law Offices of Lepley, Engelman, Yaw, and Wilk provide easy access to our diverse legal services and always welcome you to set up a consultation. Our proficient legal team offers wide-ranging counsel, simplifying any complexities of your probation terms and helping you comply with court stipulations. We aim to safeguard your legal rights, provide guidance on acceptable behavior during probation, and help you confidently navigate the probation process. If you require further understanding regarding the terms of your probation, our team is ready to assist. We aim to provide clear and assured guidance through the probationary process.


140 East Third Street, Williamsport (570) 323-3768
320 Market Street, Lewisburg (570) 522-0505
Northern Tier Pennsylvania (570) 673-4081
(800) 422-5396
Contact us today!