If you have been charged with a crime or already sentenced to probation, you may be wondering, How does probation work in St. Paul, MN?
Luckily, our team at the Criminal Defense Attorney & Workers Compensation Law Offices of Arechigo & Stokka has decades of experience helping clients navigate the terms of their probation.
Our firm was founded on a commitment to understanding each individual client’s unique situation and listening to their goals for their case.
A probation sentence can affect your life in several ways, so make sure you consult with a qualified Minnesota criminal defense attorney before you agree to any terms.
Probation can help you avoid jail time, but you need to comply with specific conditions.
A criminal defense attorney can help you understand your obligations and avoid the consequences that may result from a probation violation.
What Is Probation?
Probation is one type of punishment for a criminal offense. Probation is an alternative to jail or prison and is often an option for first-time offenders.
The sentencing judge decides the length of probation and the terms the probationer must complete.
The judge also decides whether the probationer is on unsupervised or supervised probation in MN.
A violation of the conditions could lead to revocation of probation and incarceration.
What Are the Probation Rules in St. Paul, MN?
The judge at sentencing sets the terms of probation and establishes probation conditions. Any violation of the probationary conditions could result in a revocation of probation. Customary conditions of probation include:
- Obey all laws, including local, state, and federal laws;
- Pay all fines and fees;
- Attend substance abuse treatment or counseling;
- Attend mental health counseling, including treatment for anger management and batterer’s programs;
- Refrain from possessing or using firearms or ammunition,
- Remain alcohol and drug-free;
- Submit to chemical testing to ensure compliance with abstinence requirements;
- Meet with a probation officer regularly;
- Do not leave the state of Minnesota without permission of the probation officer;
- Report to probation after release from incarceration;
- Provide a sample of your DNA; and
- Notify probation of any violations, including being charged with a criminal offense.
The sentencing judge may impose specific conditions of probation as well. Specific conditions of probation are directly tied to the underlying criminal offense.
Common Minnesota Probation Conditions
Judges often impose specific probation conditions to reform the offender, protect crime victims, and prevent further criminal activity.
Common probation conditions in Minnesota include monetary fines, house arrest, and community service.
The judge may impose added conditions depending on the type and severity of the crime committed.
For example, someone on probation for a domestic violence conviction may be required to take anger management or counseling classes.
Specific, or “special” conditions of probation often include:
- Submit to electronic monitoring by wearing a GPS device;
- Stay away from as well as have no contact with the victim and witnesses (even if the victim and witnesses are part of the offender’s family);
- Pay restitution, if necessary;
- Stay away from and have no unsupervised visitation with children under a certain age;
- Stay away from specific geographical locations like the victim’s home or place of business; and
- Submit to home confinement or curfew.
The special conditions of probation can be demanding and must not be taken lightly. Any violation could lead to severe legal trouble.
Minnesota Rule of Criminal Procedure 27.04 gives a probationer the right to have the representation of counsel during a probation revocation hearing.
Having an aggressive and experienced St. Paul probation violation lawyer represent you is vital to helping you avoid incarceration for a probation violation.
MN Probation Travel Restrictions
If you are on probation in Minnesota, you can travel freely within the state unless you are subject to specific restrictions on your travel.
However, if you want to leave the state, you need to get pre-approval from your probation officer.
This can negatively affect any probationer, especially if they work out of state or have family members in other states.
While your probation officer may allow you to leave the state when you ask, it is not guaranteed. If you leave the state without permission, it is considered a probation violation.
What Are the Different Types of Probation?
Minnesota recognizes two types of probation. Probation in Minnesota could be either supervised or unsupervised.
Unsupervised probation usually requires the probationer to pay fees and to remain out of trouble.
Probationers on unsupervised probation do not have a requirement to meet with a probation officer.
People on unsupervised probation can be found in violation of probation and receive an incarcerated sentence.
Probationers on supervised probation must meet with their probation officer and perform all of the conditions required.
What Happens on Probation in St. Paul, MN?
You should expect your assigned probation officer to watch you closely, especially if you are new to probation.
What happens on probation largely depends on the charges. You should anticipate meeting with your probation officer regularly.
Your probation officer might force you to find employment or pursue an education.
Your probation officer should encourage you to ask questions, especially about how does probation work. They can help you understand the probation rules if you are unsure.
Minnesota law authorizes a probation officer to ask for a summons or warrant if the officer receives information about a violation of conditions.
The probation officer could ask for detention before a revocation hearing upon the probationer’s first appearance in court.
The State has to prove the probationer violated a condition of probation.
The probationer has due process rights, including a right to counsel, a right to notice of the allegations, a right to confront and cross-examine witnesses, and a right to testify or not.
MN Probation Violation Consequences
The judge has several options when ruling on a probation violation. The judge could either dismiss the revocation proceedings for lack of evidence or rule that the probationer violated probation terms.
If the judge finds the probationer violated the terms of probation, then the judge can:
- Reinstate and extend probation, order new conditions, or adjust current conditions;
- Revoke the probation and order incarceration but stay the execution of the sentence; or
- Revoke probation and incarcerate the probationer.
Your criminal defense attorney can advocate for you at a probation revocation hearing and try to help you avoid having your probation revoked.
How Long Is Probation?
The answer to the question, How long is probation? is that it depends on several factors. Minnesota Statutes section 609.135, sub. 2 specifies how long probation might last for certain crimes.
Probation for a felony charge in Minnesota can last four years or for the duration of the maximum sentence for the crime charged, whichever is the longer term.
Probation for convictions of felony criminal vehicular charges could last up to six years.
The maximum term of probation for a gross misdemeanor conviction is two years.
However, the maximum term of probation could be up to six years for certain crimes relating to driving while impaired, criminal vehicular operation, and 5th-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Probation for a simple misdemeanor is one year. Exceptions to the one-year maximum include certain crimes for driving while impaired, interfering with privacy, obscene phone calls, indecent exposure, and domestic assault.
In some cases, you can be released from probation early. You can request early termination of your probation sentence after completing either one year of supervised probation or one-half of your probation term.
Your probation officer can provide you with the instructions on requesting early termination.
Reach Out to Arechigo & Stokka If You Need Help
A judge has wide latitude when handling a probation violation in Minnesota.
We know how to help you avoid going to jail or returning to prison because of a probation violation.
We understand the rules of probation and how to use them in your favor.
We also have a sterling reputation for working with the probation department and will cooperate with them to get you the help you need.
Attorney John Arechigo has a passion for criminal defense in St. Paul, MN. John received his J.D., from Hamline University School of Law and also carries a Bachelor of Arts from, The University of Minnesota. John was named Attorney of the Year for 2019 by Minnesota Lawyer. Additionally, John was also named as a 2019 Rising Star and was selected to Minnesota Super Lawyers in 2021. He devotes nearly 100% of his practice to defending individuals charged with a crime.