Probation comes with certain rules that the offender must follow, such as staying away from known criminals and not traveling out of state. If you know someone who is not following the rules, you can report the violation by phone to her probation officer. Anyone can locate a person's probation officer by calling the local probation department. You'll need details of the exact nature of the violation and as much evidence as you can gather.
Understanding Probation Violations
The specific terms of someone's probation are not a matter of public record, but most of the requirements are fairly standard. They include such matters as staying away from people in the criminal justice system, refraining from drugs and alcohol, not making major lifestyle changes without permission and staying out of trouble with the law. If the probation violation involved committing a crime, consider calling the police as well as the person's probation officer.
Locating the Probation Officer
Each county has its own probation department. To locate the website for the county probation service, type the words "probation office," plus the county or city where the probationer lives into a search engine. Call the department and provide the name of the probationer to find out which probation officer is assigned to the case – ask to speak directly to the officer or leave a message for him to call you back at a convenient time. Some probation departments have a duty probation officer who can take your report.
Reporting the Violation
Usually, you'll be able to report the violation to the probation officer over the phone. Some officers may prefer that you visit them in person. Give the name of the probationer and tell the officer everything you know about the violation, including:
- the nature of the violation
- where exactly the violation occurred
- the date and time of the violation
- the names and contact details of any other witnesses
- whether there are documents or photos that show the violation
Be aware that the probation officer may take your name and contact details in case you are needed in court. If you don't want to give you name, ask if it's possible to make an anonymous report.
Follow the Probation Officer's Instructions
It's up to the probation officer what happens after you report the violation. If the violation is serious or creates an imminent threat to others, the officer may refer the offender back to court. The court has the power to revoke probation and order the offender to serve out the sentence for the underlying offense. Less serious violations typically receive less severe sanctions like additional probation restrictions and fines. It's important to follow the probation officer's instructions for your own personal safety.