Unsupervised probation is a sentence that is often given to a person who is convicted of a minor offense and who does not have a notable criminal record. The person is not placed under the supervision of a parole officer and is basically left on his or her own. Unsupervised probation is a warning from the judge to stay clean, 'or else.'
History of probation
The first time probation was ever used in the United States was in a courtroom in Boston in 1841. Massachusetts, in 1880, was the first state to develop a statewide probation system. By 1920, twenty states had probation systems in use. Every state was using these systems by 1951. Unsupervised probation is the least restrictive and least severe type of probation.
The ins and outs of unsupervised probation
The judge who places the probationer under unsupervised probation will inform him or her of the conditions of the probationer's probation. Besides the probation, the person may be required to complete community service, pay a fine, refrain from the use of alcohol and/or drugs, be tested for drugs or anything else the judge considers necessary. The judge may order the probationer to complete these conditions in a shorter amount of time than the probation period.
The judge sees this as a time when the probationer can correct his or her mistakes and become responsible. The probationer is left totally on his or her own with no supervising probation officer. It is up to the probationer to comply with the judge's conditions.
The probationer is not required to meet with a probation officer during this time. However, it is up to the probation office to make certain that the person is completing the requirements of his or her unsupervised probation. This is the probationer's opportunity to prove there has been a change in his or her actions.
Having the unsupervised probation revoked
The person on unsupervised probation was explicitly told by the judge what he or she could or could not do during the probation period. If the probationer chooses not to comply with the conditions of probation or if that person commits another crime, the probationer's unsupervised probation may be revoked. The judge and the probation office tend to take a graduated approach to this. If the infraction is not something big, the probationers may just be placed on supervised probation for a period of time. If the person commits a major infraction, or if he or she continues to just do minor things, that person faces the possibility of having his or her probation revoked completely and spending time in jail.
Unsupervised probation and drug testing
Many probationers worry about whether or not they will be required to have urine testa for drugs during their probation time. The safest thing is to simply stay away from drugs, especially while on probation. In most cases, there will be no drug testing during unsupervised probation unless the judge specifies that as one of the conditions of the probation. If the judge suspects that the probationer may be doing drugs, he or she can order a drug test at any time.