You were just offered probation instead of the jail time you were dreading. You’re thrilled! You totally dodged a bullet! But what are the terms of your probation? Do you understand them? Can you abide by them? What type of probation did you get and is it the right one for you?
Types of Probation
Here in Missouri, there are two main types of probation: Suspended Imposition of Sentence (SIS) and Suspended Execution of Sentece (SES). They sound technical and complex but they’re pretty basic. If you have received an SIS probation, it means you have plead guilty to the charges you were a accused of but you will NOT be convicted for your crime, you will NOT be sentenced jail time by a judge, you will NOT serve jail time, and this crime will NOT appear on your record. This is assuming of course that you complete your probation in good standing.
If you have received an SES probation, it means you have plead guilty to the charges you were accused of, you WILL be convicted of the crime, you WILL go before a judge and be sentenced with jail time, this crime WILL appear on your record, but you will NOT serve the jail time you were sentenced with. Again, this is assuming you do not violate the terms of your probation.
Both SIS and SES keep you out of jail but clearly, SIS probation leaves you in a much better situation.
Should I take the probation offered to me?
It almost sounds like a no brainer. Why would you ever choose jail time over probation? Whenever I have a client considering an offer, I really want to make sure he/she is a good candidate for the probation before it’s accepted. I never want to set my clients up for failure by having them agree to terms and conditions that they probably won’t be able to abide by. Here’s a great example about my client, Mr. X. He uses marijuana several times a week. The probation offered to him includes regular drug testing. If Mr. X fails the drug test, his probation will be terminated. The penalties for violating probation can sometimes be worse than the jail time you would have originally served. So now it’s time to have a tough conversation with Mr. X. Can he uphold the terms of this probation? If he’s worried that he may not be able to, it’s probably best to turn it down and take the conviction and subsequent jail time.
Regardless what type of probation you are facing, these are serious matters. Never jump into a probation without discussing all of the terms with an experienced criminal attorney.