Probation & Community Corrections
If convicted of a crime in Indiana, you may be required to undergo one or more of the following in addition to jail time OR instead of jail time. Every criminal case is different and it may depend on the county or court in which your criminal case is pending. Speak to one of our experienced Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorneys to determine which of the following may be applicable to your case.
If you plead guilty pursuant to a plea agreement, the Court can either accept or reject the plea agreement. If the Court accepts the plea agreement, then the Court can only sentence a Defendant pursuant to the terms of the plea agreement.
If a Defendant is convicted without a plea agreement, the Court has a certain amount of discretion when it comes to deciding the length of a person’s sentence, within the ranges identified above. The Court could suspend part or all of a Defendant’s sentence and place a person on probation or in community corrections program instead of jail or prison.
Probation is available in all counties in Indiana, but each county runs its own probation department differently. For instance, smaller counties will typically combine their probation departments, while Marion County has its own and very large probation department. The way probation is administered is also different between counties.
Probation is essentially an agreement between a Defendant and the Court to follow certain terms and conditions in exchange for suspending the Defendant’s jail time. Each Probation department has specific terms and conditions that must be followed. These can include random drug and alcohol testing, home visits, weekly meetings or phone calls, community service, maintaining employment, and attendance for specific behavioral classes. Keep in mind that these are just some of the requirements, but not all of them. If you successfully complete the probation requirements, your case will be over and the matter will be closed. However, if you violate the terms and conditions of probation, the probation department will typically file a Notice of Violation of Probation. The Court will then hold a fact-finding hearing to determine if a Defendant did indeed violate the terms of probation. If the Court finds that a Defendant violated the terms, the Court can order that all or a portion of the Defendant’s suspended sentence be served in jail, prison, or on a community corrections program.
Community corrections programs are also offered in lieu of prison or jail time as a sentencing alternative. These programs are more restrictive than probation. Again, each county’s community correction may have different requirements, but most offer either home detention or work release.
For home detention, a Defendant is required to be confined to their home for all or a portion of their sentence. The Defendant would typically be required to wear an ankle bracelet for monitoring, and would only be authorized to leave their home with permission from their case manager (for work or otherwise). Leaving the home without permission would violate the terms of home detention and a Defendant could be required to serve the rest of their sentence in jail, or even the potential of a new charge of Escape as a Level 6 Felony being filed.
Work release is more restrictive, as a Defendant must reside at the Community Corrections facility instead of at home, but is authorized to leave the facility for work-related purposes. Having employment, or the ability to quickly get a job, is typically a pre-condition to being accepted in work release.
You should speak to a qualified Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorney to discuss probation or community corrections options if applicable to your case.