Sentenced to Probation in DC, Now what?

Mark Rollins Criminal Law

Civil Protection Orders in DC

Probation in a Criminal Case

If a defendant is found guilty in DC Superior Court, the defendant may be afforded the opportunity to be placed on probation.   Probation basically gives you a second chance before incarceration.   Probation is an available sentencing option for any offense not requiring a mandatory prison term.    In order to be placed on probation you must consent and agree to be placed on probation. In ordering probation, the court imposes a sentence of incarceration and then suspends its execution.  If you fail to complete the terms of probation the court can revoke your probation and then sentence you to the original sentence.  The Court may not exceed the initial sentence if probation is revoked.  Every grant of probation includes the general condition that the defendant remains free of criminal involvement.   A probation term in the District of Columbia cannot exceed 5 years.   There are essentially 2 types of probation in the District of Columbia

Supervised Probation

Generally,  supervised probation means that you will have a probation officer that you must report to weekly or monthly depending on the level of supervision. Other than the general conditions of reporting to your probation officer, the Court may order Special conditions.  Special conditions could include for example completing a driving class or attending anger management.   Furthermore,  the probation officer may place you on GPS to check your whereabouts.     Pursuant to D.C. Code § 24-304(a). the court has jurisdiction to modify conditions of probation during the term of probation;however, the Court must give notice to you and your lawyer that it wishes to change the terms of your probation.

Unsupervised Probation

Unsupervised probation is given to individuals facing low end traffic and misdemeanor offenses.  Generally, the only condition of unsupervised probation is not to be rearrested during the period of probation and pay the fine imposed.  If you are rearrested during the period of unsupervised probation the Court may impose the original sentence.


If you are facing a criminal charge in the District of Columbia it is very important to understand what will happen if you are found guilty.    In some cases, the Court may want to order a probation review hearing during the pend ency of your probation.  This ensures that you are complying with the conditions of probation.  Even if you violate certain conditions of probation it does not automatically  mean you will be incarcerated.  In some cases, the Court may give you a second or third chance to complete probation; however, it is rare.

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