When a person commits a crime in Ohio or in any state, the judge may grant the offender a probation term in lieu of prison. A probation officer will supervise the defendant, who must abide by stringent terms of probation. These probation rules are designed to motivate the offender to pursue a law-abiding lifestyle. Failure to do so can result in rearrest with tougher probation terms or a prison sentence.
Most jurisdictions statewide have similar standard probation terms. Probation conditions in Medina County and Willoughby, for example, are typical of those throughout Ohio. Basic probation terms include obeying all laws, reporting to a probation officer as directed, maintaining gainful employment, paying court fees, completing community service hours, refraining from contact with the victim or any criminal and avoiding the use of any illegal substances. Most defendants report to the probation officer once or twice a month at the probation office, and probation officers also visit defendants at their homes.
Restriction of Rights
Some probation terms specifically restrict the rights of probationers. A probation officer is not required to have a warrant to arrest the defendant, and the defendant must submit to search and seizure at any time without a warrant. The probationer cannot leave the state or move without permission from the probation officer, and he cannot drink alcohol or possess any weapon. According to the National Rifle Association, no convicted felon may possess a weapon in Ohio, even after release from probation.
Specialized terms for probationers are limited only by the imagination of the court and the sentencing judge. Some common specialized terms in Ohio include completing counseling as directed, submitting to random urinalysis testing and avoiding work in any field involving contact with vulnerable people.
Jurisdictions thoughout Ohio may add or modify probation terms with court approval.