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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 26819
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I have been on probation years and my probation officer is

Customer Question

I have been on probation for 5 years and my probation officer is very abusive. Help
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.


I don't often get to give pleasant news in the criminal law category, and your question is no exception. I'm sure you're not going to like what I have to say to you, but if I told you anything else, I'd be a liar.

Yours is a question we get asked a lot. Being on probation is nothing like being at liberty. There is nothing pleasant about it, except the fact that you are not in jail. When a person is placed on probation, he or she has been convicted of a crime and has been sentenced to probation in lieu of jail time. As part of that plea, he gives up almost all of his rights in order to be able to stay out of jail. The only right a probationer has is a right to a hearing.

That makes probation a very powerful organization. Probation officers don't look to be nice. They look to be obeyed, and many probation officers are on power trips because they are accustomed to getting exactly what they want done without having to justify it to a probationer.

Probation is most difficult for those probationers who have strong will and who insist upon logic. Many probationers feel like you do. Unfortunately, however, probation holds all the cards.

You can appeal to the probation supervisor to try to get a new PO. Or, if you think your probation officer is abusive and unreasonable, you can talk to your lawyer and try to get the case back before the judge to see if he will order a switch, but in my experience your probation officer will keep your case and complaining will just give him one more reason to treat you badly. A judge will not interfere with probation's decision unless they find probation's rules arbitrary and capricious.

Probation is very difficult. The rules are tough and a lot of them probably make no sense to you. Probation officers can be pretty intolerant. That said, the best way to get a PO off of your back is for a probationer to do exactly what his PO asks without complaint or comment and make the PO respect how well the probationer is doing on probation. Then, the PO will lighten up on you and pick on someone else instead.

I'm sorry not to be able to tell you what you want to hear, but this is the reality of life on probation. You can get a hearing before the judge, but if it's just that your PO has an attitude problem, it's likely not going to work.