How to Find Probation Status

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Probation is an alternative sentence to incarceration that grants to a convicted person the opportunity to continue working, attending school and simply participating in society while under supervision by a probation officer. Being on probation can restrict an individual from doing certain things, like leaving the state or spending time with specific persons. Under certain circumstances, it is necessary to find out another individual’s probation status. It is possible to get this information from an online probation status search.

Why Check Probation Status?

There are a few different reasons why you might want to find out another person’s probation status. These include:

  • Screening a potential tenant
  • Conducting a background check for potential hire
  • Verifying a potential new friend or romantic partner’s background

A person’s probation status is public record, so anybody can check probation status online with just a few pieces of identifying information. Employers who check probation status online should take care to comply with their states’ laws for conducting applicant background checks to make sure the are not violating existing anti-discrimination laws.

In most states, an employer must get an applicant’s consent to conduct a background check. In every state, employers who conduct background checks must maintain uniform criteria for requiring them and must use the results to approve or deny applicants equally – in other words, hiring white applicants who are on probation, but not black applicants who are on probation, would be an act of discrimination.

How to Check Probation Status Online

It is fairly simple to check probation status if you know the jurisdiction where the individual was arrested and convicted. If he was convicted of a federal offense, you can find the record through the federal probation office. This can be accessed through the US Courts website, which leads you to the appropriate district court’s website.

If the person was convicted of a state-level offense, it is possible to check probation status through the court records for the state where he was convicted. This could be the state’s inmate lookup tool, but in some states, like New Jersey, this tool does not bring up records for individuals whose supervision periods ended more than a year before the date of the search. For records of those who were previously on probation in these states, you must search in the state’s court records, which may be available online.

When an online probation search determines that an individual is on probation and that he is being supervised by a specific police department, the searcher can contact that police department and ask to speak with the subject’s probation officer. The officer may be able to share information, like the individual’s current address.

Read More: Probation Vs. Conviction

Criminal Background Checks

When you do not know the jurisdiction where the individual was arrested and convicted, finding her probation status requires a few extra steps. The first step is to determine where she was convicted or even if she was convicted at all, because this is the jurisdiction that will have a record of her probation status.

Finding an individual’s probation status typically starts with an online background check. These can be conducted through a variety of services like:

  • Sentrylink.com
  • Crimcheck.net
  • Staterecords.org

Through some of these websites, the searcher can conduct a background check for free. Through others, the searcher must pay a fee, usually to access information beyond the basics like an individual’s name and age. These services can show you where the search subject was convicted and direct you to the appropriate court's website to search for records or contact the subject’s probation officer.