In Colorado criminal cases, unsupervised probation is where you report directly to the court rather than being supervised by a probation officer. This is a more relaxed form of probation reserved for low-level misdemeanor cases and for first-time offenders.
The conditions of unsupervised probation typically include:
- Community service,
- Not committing another crime,
- Paying restitution to victims, and
- Drug or alcohol classes and treatment.
Unsupervised probation is often less expensive than supervised probation because there are fewer fees to pay. It is also less inconvenient.
In this article, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers will address:
- 1. What is probation?
- 2. What is unsupervised probation?
- 3. What are the benefits of unsupervised probation?
- 4. What do I still have to do under unsupervised probation?
- 5. What are the penalties for violating unsupervised probation?
1. What is probation?
Probation is often a part of the sentence for a criminal conviction. It is a list of things that you have to do, instead of going to jail. Probation is frequently a part of a plea bargain. It is a possibility for people convicted of anything other than a:
If you break the terms of your probation, you can face serious consequences. You could go back to jail. You could also have your probation revoked and replaced with new, stricter terms.
The terms of your probation depend on your criminal conviction. For example, probation for driving under the influence (DUI) will likely include alcohol testing and treatment.
Some of the most common conditions of probation include:
- Domestic violence classes,
- Alcohol or drug treatment,
- Paying restitution to victims of the crime,
- Paying court costs,
- Covering the supervision fee for probation,
- Staying sober,
- Relinquish your firearms,
- Performing community service,
- Attending victim impact panels,
- Regularly check in with a probation officer,
- Consent to warrantless searches of your home, car, or person,
- Continually update personal information, including your address and employment information, and
- Not leave the state of Colorado without prior approval.
Additionally, probation forbids you from committing another crime.1
2. What is unsupervised probation?
With unsupervised probation, you do not report to a probation officer. Instead, you report your progress directly to the court.
Unsupervised probation is relatively rare. Most of the time, probation is supervised. Courts tend to only issue unsupervised probation if:
- You do not have any prior criminal convictions,
- You were convicted for a low-level misdemeanor, and
- You have already completed most or all of the terms of your probation while under supervision.
Most unsupervised probations come after a period of supervised probation. Courts let you complete most of the requirements of your probation under supervision. Then they shift you into unsupervised probation because there is little else to monitor.2
3. What are the benefits of unsupervised probation?
In unsupervised probation, you do not have to deal with a probation officer. Instead, you can report directly to the court. The benefits of this setup include:
- Not having to pay supervision fees, which can cost $50 per month,
- No longer having to meet with your probation officer every month, and
- Fewer sobriety checks or drug tests.
When probation is unsupervised, it drastically reduces the costs and hassle.3
4. What do I still have to do under unsupervised probation?
Just because probation is unsupervised does not mean it is over, though. You still need to comply with all of the rules (called terms and conditions of probation). These include:
- Returning to court for regular progress reports
- Not committing a new crime,
- Paying any fines or court-ordered restitution, and
- Not leaving Colorado without prior approval.
You also have to update the court as to your status. Under supervised probation, this is the job of the probation officer. When probation is unsupervised, you have to do it. If you complete a requirement of your probation, you will have to bring proof of completion to the court.
The exact terms of your probation are often unique to your case. Before being put on unsupervised probation, it is important to clearly understand what you still have to do. You should ask your lawyer, probation officer, or court official.4
5. What are the penalties for violating unsupervised probation?
If you violate any of the terms of unsupervised probation, the court can:
- Issue an arrest warrant,
- Force you to post bail to be released,
- Revoke your probation,
- Change the terms of your probation to make them more stringent,
- Turn unsupervised probation into supervised probation, or
- Send you to jail.
The penalties for violating probation are especially serious if your probation was part of a deferred sentence. In these cases, the original sentence can be imposed. This can include fines and jail time.
If you are accused of violating your probation, the court will schedule a probation hearing. At this hearing, the judge will decide if you broke the terms of your probation. Prosecutors only have to prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence.5
Call us for help…
Unsupervised probation is often the last part of the sentence for a criminal conviction. You should take extra care to not break the terms of your probation at this stage. Our criminal defense lawyers can help see you through to the end. Contact us online with any questions about the process or if you need legal help.