California law has a unique feature concerning probation. There are two types of probation in the state, formal probation and information, also known as summary probation. Consequently, individuals need to know which one they have to correctly meet the requirements of the court’s orders for probation.
What Is Formal Probation?
Formal probation requires regularly checking in with a probation officer and following other guidelines from the court. Because the individual must regularly check in with their probation officer, they need to take extra care to avoid violating their terms of probation. Probation violations could result in the individual going to jail for the rest of their sentence.
Probation violations can happen by breaking the rules set forth by the court for the individual. For instance, if someone is under formal probation for a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction and they fail a court-required drug test, they may be found in violation of probation and go to jail. Thanks to Assembly Bill 1950, the maximum time for formal probation is lowered to one year for misdemeanor cases, instead of the former maximum of three years.
What Is Summary Probation?
Those with sentences that include summary probation, also called informal probation, do not have a probation officer to meet with. In fact, those who have summary probation as their sentence must report to the courts. They still may have requirements to fulfill such as community service hours or education classes, but they report completion of these to the court. Consequently, violations of summary probation don’t occur as frequently due to the differences in oversight and requirements of the individuals.
What Is the Major Difference Between Formal and Summary Probation?
The biggest difference between formal and summary probation is where the individual reports to. Reporting to a probation officer happens with formal probation while informal probation requires reporting to the court.
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