Shock probation is an opportunity for a person convicted and sentenced to jail or the penitentiary to serve a set amount of time, be returned to the sentencing court and placed on probation. The term shock probation is used because it is assumed that the initial time incarcerated will help an offender choose a law-abiding life. The majority of states offer shock probation as an alternative punishment. To be eligible for felony shock probation, you must be a first-time offender. Certain offenses involving aggravated circumstances, sexual crimes and children are automatically excluded from shock probation eligibility.
Contact an attorney to determine the specific requirements of your state and eligibility for shock probation. Ideally, shock probation already will be a part of your judgment. This is achieved by an attorney negotiating shock probation in lieu of incarceration as part of a guilty-plea agreement, or being sentenced to shock probation by a judge or jury.
If shock probation was part of the judgment, proceed to Step 3. If you are initially requesting shock probation, you must petition the sentencing court. This should be done through an attorney, but can be done you (pro se).
After 30 days and before six months, the state’s attorney or defendant must file a written motion with the sentencing court requesting suspension of further execution of the sentence. You have to convince the judge it is in the best interest of your rehabilitation and of society to place you on community supervision.
If shock probation was a part of your judgment or if the judge is considering your petition, the facility where you are being incarcerated will send a report to the sentencing court discussing your record while in jail or prison. If you commit a new offense or failed to adequately abide by the rules of the facility, you can be denied shock probation and will remain in prison until your parole.
If the judge is considering your petition and the attorney for the state is opposed, most states require a hearing to present evidence to aid the judge in making a ruling.
If the petition is granted, you will be returned to the sentencing court, where the judge will suspend your jail or prison sentence and place you on probation for a specified time period. You will be given terms and conditions of probation, which you must adhere to or risk being returned to jail or prison.
- Boot camp is a type of shock probation typically reserved for younger, physically fit offenders. In some states, the terms boot camp and shock probation are interchangeable. Other states, however, differentiate between the two programs.
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