Missouri law includes several restrictions on people who serve probation. Offenders serving probation need to know the rules and regulations they must follow.
While a probation or supervising officer is responsible for helping offenders successfully complete their term of probation, it is up to the offender to make sure they understand and follow what the court and officer require of them. If an offender violates the terms of probation, they can end up serving the rest of their time behind bars.
Probation in Missouri
Probation is a court-ordered sanction in which an individual found guilty of a crime can stay in their community to serve their sentence under the supervision of a probation officer. A probationer agrees to obey all federal and state laws, as well as municipal and county ordinances. They may first serve jail time before being put on probation, or they may serve probation only and not go to jail.
The conditions of probation can include, but are not limited, to:
- Community service.
- Reporting to the supervising officer.
- Restrictions on drugs, alcohol or weapons.
Responsibilities of a Probation Officer
A probation officer has a variety of responsibilities. These include, but are not limited, to:
- Assessing the probationer's needs and risks to the community.
- Drug and alcohol testing.
- Helping the probationer access services.
- Monitoring the probationer to make sure they follow court orders.
- Overseeing the offender's rehabilitation.
- Preparing recommendations and reports for the court.
- Visiting the probationer's residence.
Types of Probation in Missouri
There are two types of probation in Missouri. With a Suspended Imposition of Sentence (SIS), the court places the offender on probation but doesn't impose a sentence. When the probationer finishes SIS probation, the court closes their record to the public. A person who violates SIS probation is subject to the full range of punishment.
With Suspended Execution of Sentence (SES), the court sentences the offender to a jail term, but suspends incarceration and places the offender on probation instead. SES is a conviction and, therefore, part of the public record. A person who violates SES probation is subject to its revocation, but the court can send them to jail only for the length of time of their preset sentence.
Travel While on Probation in Missouri
A probation officer must always know where the probationer is, so the officer determines where the probationer can travel. In the event the offender lives in one place and works in another, their travel area will typically be limited to just those locations.
Probationers must have advance permission from their supervising officer when leaving the state. If the officer approves the probationer's travel, they will issue a written travel permit.
Probationers must discuss their travel plans with their officer at least 15 days in advance to allow the officer to gather the proper documents. An officer may issue an immediate permit to travel outside of the state in an emergency, such as the death of a family member.
Residency Requirements for Probationers
A person on probation must get advance permission from their supervising officer before changing their residence, as the officer has the authority to approve or disapprove of the individual's plans to move. If a probationer loses their residence due to an emergency, they must contact their officer within 48 hours of having to move. An officer will make periodic random home visits to the probationer.
A probationer can request the transfer of their supervision to another state, but they must meet specific criteria. Their officer will decide if they are eligible to move, and staff will investigate the proposed residence of the probationer by conducting an interstate investigation, which can take a significant length of time.
Probationers cannot relocate to another state without permission from Missouri and from the state they intend to move to.
Maintaining Employment While on Probation
A probationer must work while on probation unless they participate in a program approved by their officer. They must also get permission from their officer before quitting a job or program. A person on probation has an obligation to support themselves and their family and to pay their debts.
If a probationer is terminated from their job, they have 48 hours to notify their supervising officer. This includes layoffs, firings or a job or program being placed on hold.
Probationer's Association With Others
Before an individual on probation associates with a person convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, a parolee, or another probationer, they must get permission from their officer to do so. It is the probationer's responsibility to know who their associates are.
They may work or live with these associates, but they should not associate with them after working hours or outside their residence. If they do, they should discuss this with their supervising officer, as they will need advance permission.
If the probationer has family members who are convicted offenders, parolees or probationers, they will still need advance permission before associating with those family members. The probationer may encounter these types of associates in their program; any association with them outside of the program requires advance permission. This includes transportation with an offender to and from programs.
Drugs and the Probationer
A person on probation cannot possess or use controlled substances except by prescription from a licensed medical doctor. Unless prescribed by a physician, controlled substance use is not only a violation of probation, but illegal in the state of Missouri. An officer can contact a probationer's doctor regarding an individual's prescribed drug use.
As part of their supervision, the probationer must take random urine tests. If drugs are detected, it is a violation of their probation. Failing to produce a urine sample within a required period or failing to follow any other directives by an officer regarding drug testing may violate their supervision, as will substituting, diluting or otherwise altering a urine specimen.
Weapons and Probationers
Individuals cannot receive, sell, possess, purchase or transport ammunition, firearms, explosive devices or other dangerous weapons during probation or sometimes even after. When a person's supervision ends, they should contact the Department of Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms concerning restrictions on weapons and how they can get relief. Dangerous weapons include:
- Firearms, including antique, curio or relic.
- Gas guns or spring guns.
- Black powder rifles.
- Stun guns.
- Blasting agents, detonators and explosive weapons.
- Knives (other than pocket knives with blades less than four inches long) including switchblades.
- Brass knuckles.
Federal law makes it illegal for specific categories of persons to possess, receive, ship or transport firearms or ammunition. They are:
- Under indictment for a crime that carries over one-year imprisonment as a penalty.
- Under conviction of a crime that carries over one-year imprisonment as a penalty.
- Fugitive from justice.
- Addict or a person using an illegal controlled substance.
- Person adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a psychiatric hospital.
- Illegal alien.
- Member of the military with a dishonorable discharge.
- Person who has renounced their U.S. citizenship.
- Person with a restraining order against them.
- Offender with a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction.
Reporting to a Probation Officer in Missouri
A probationer must report to their supervising officer and follow that officer's directives. The officer can have individual contact with them in various ways and locations.
They may give a probationer instructions to meet at the Probation and Parole Office or somewhere else like a courthouse, office building, public place in the community, or even by video. An officer may ask a probationer to send in a supervision report each month or call the office at a designated time.
Requirement for Additional Documents
An officer may require a probationer to submit additional documents, including pay stubs, court fees, restitution receipts or tax forms.
If an officer is not available by phone, the probationer must leave a message and identify themselves via recorded message or by speaking to someone in the office; this is not considered an office visit. Failure to follow these or any directives from an officer regarding reporting violates probation.
Supervision Strategies for Probationers
Probationers must enter and complete any supervision strategies and follow all the rules and requirements as the probation officer or court directs. The state Department of Corrections also has its own supervision strategies, which include:
- Initial assessments.
- Risk and Needs-based levels of supervision.
- Electronic monitoring.
- Daily reporting.
- Residential facilities, transition centers, community supervision centers and institutional treatment centers.
A probationer's risk to the community and their needs will be regularly assessed by their officer during their probation to determine the best programs for them. They are responsible for completing recommended supervision strategies and abiding by the rules and requirements of these programs.
Fees for Probationers
Probationers must pay a monthly intervention fee, set by the state Department of Corrections. Payments are due on the first day of the first month after probation placement. The state Division of Probation and Parole can also collect an intervention fee from probationers, which goes toward support services for offenders.
Failure to pay these fees may result in penalties from written reprimands and court hearings to travel restrictions, community service or increased supervision. The agency can also intercept a probationer's income taxes or participate in other collection activities.
Payment of Missouri Probation Fees
Probation officers cannot take payments directly, but they can answer a probationer's questions about making payments. Individuals can pay their fees online through the Missouri Department of Corrections website.
Intervention payments can also be made by calling 855-362-4333 or by mailing payment via money order or cashier's check to the Missouri Department of Corrections, Attn: Offender Financial Service, P.O. Box 1848, Jefferson City, Missouri 65102
Special Conditions for Probationers
The court that places an offender on probation has the authority to determine the conditions of that person's supervision period. Special conditions may include:
- Prohibiting the offender from consuming alcoholic beverages.
- Requiring the probationer to complete a treatment program.
- Requiring the probationer to complete an educational or vocational training program.
Special conditions may also come with certain restrictions. The court often uses special conditions to set up court costs, fines and restitution.
As a condition of probation, the court may require that an offender submit to a detention period in an appropriate institution at a specific time or intervals during their probation. Special conditions required by the court are as important as other conditions and failure to comply are a probation violation.
- Missouri Dept of Corrections: Understanding Probation and Parole for Family and Friends
- Missouri Department of Corrections: Rules and Regulations Governing the Conditions of Probation, Parole, and Conditional Release
- Criminal Justice Hub: What Is Probation?
- Kansas City Mo.: Probation Types and Supervision
- Missouri Dept of Corrections: Intervention Fees Payment Center
Michelle Nati is an associate editor and writer who has reported on legal, criminal and government news for PasadenaNow.com and Complex Media. She holds a B.A. in Communications and English from Niagara University.