a defendant appears before the court for sentencing, s/he may be placed
on probation with the court. The probationary period for a misdemeanor may
to two years. The court may impose any condition that it feels will help the
defendant become a more productive person and citizen in society. Some of the
conditions which the court may impose include counseling, substance abuse
treatment, paying restitution, or community service.
Often, the court allows the defendant to serve time on the court's work program in lieu of serving time in jail.
The role of the probation officer is to assist in making recommendations to the Judge by conducting a Pre-Sentence Investigation (PSI). This is done after the probation officer meets with the defendant and discusses the defendant's past criminal and/or traffic history, current employment status, and family situation. The probation officer may also do an alcohol/drug assessment if the offense warrants one. It is mandatory to do an assessment if it is a traffic offense and alcohol or drugs were involved.
Once the defendant is placed on probation, the probation officer assists the defendant in meeting the conditions the court has imposed. This is accomplished by assigning a probation officer to each defendant placed on probation. The probation officer meets with the defendant on a regular basis to discuss their progress. If any defendant fails to abide by the conditions set by the court, the probation officer may ask the court to revoke the defendant's probation, which could result in further consequences to the defendant.