Probation is a type of sentence that allows a person convicted of a crime to remain in the community, under the supervision of a probation officer, instead of going to jail. The court will impose certain rules that the offender has to follow, such as attending drug rehabilitation classes or refraining from associating with certain people. The exact length of probation depends on state law and the nature of the crime.
Ask Your Probation Officer
Your probation officer will know the date your probation ends, so call him to get the exact date your probation is over. If you're still under the probation officer's supervision, make sure to check in with him regularly as directed by the court. The probation officer can confirm that you have complied with all the court-ordered conditions and are on track to complete your probation on the scheduled date for termination.
Check the Court Records
Another option is to visit the clerk of the court where you were convicted and ask to see your record. This will tell you the date you received the probation sentence and how many months of probation you were given. From this information, you can calculate when probation ends. Some jurisdictions let you view your case docket online so you don't physically have to visit the courthouse.
Court Records May Not Be Conclusive
While the court record will specify the length of the probation, finding the precise end date is not actually an easy answer. For example, if the court imposed a six-month probation on October 8, 2018, will probation end on April 9, 2019 or April 10, 2019? In fact, it could be either, depending on how your court and probation team have set up their systems. For longer probation periods there's an extra layer of complication as the court will generally classify a year as 365 days even if it's a leap year, and may treat all months as 30-day months even if the month has 28 or 31 days!
So, while the court records can give you a rough idea of the termination date of your probation, it's still wise to ask your probation officer for the exact date.
When Probation Conditions Are Not Satisfied
Generally, the period of probation will not end unless and until you have completed every condition of your probation. For example, your probation will not finish on the scheduled termination date if fines and costs are outstanding or if you have not yet finished the recommended counseling treatment or community service hours. If you have been ordered to pay restitution to the victim, that amount must be paid in full.
This is another reason to keep checking in with your probation officer to find out how your probation is going and what happens when probation is over. All these conditions have a direct impact on the length of the probation since you must show that you are worthy before the probation will be closed.
Read More: Probation Vs. Conviction
Good Time Credits
Most states offer good time credits, officially known as earned compliance credits, which allow you to shorten your time on probation if you comply with all the conditions of your sentence. States differ in their approach. Some jurisdictions require you to go to court and get a formal discharge from your probation sentence, in which case the exact date of the discharge should be noted on your criminal record. Other states allow you to earn a set number of days off the probation period by completing drug programs or counseling, for example. Your probation officer can give you the details of your good time credits and how this might impact the completion of your probation period.
Jayne Thompson earned an LL.B. in Law and Business Administration from the University of Birmingham and an LL.M. in International Law from the University of East London. She practiced in various “Big Law” firms before launching a career as a commercial writer. Her work has appeared on numerous legal blogs including Quittance, Upcounsel and Medical Negligence Experts.