By Jedidiah McKeehan

Probation is a type of alternative sentencing that is used to sentence the vast majority of individuals who are convicted of committing crimes.

For example, someone who commits a DUI (driving under the influence), someone who pleads guilty will be sentenced to serve 11 months and 29 days in jail.  The person who pleads guilty will typically have to serve 2 days of that sentence in jail and the remainder of the sentence will be “suspended” to probation.

Probation is a mechanism that allows law enforcement to keep an eye on defendants for an extended period of time while not taking up space in the jail.  If everyone who plead guilty to a crime had to serve the entirety of their sentences in jail it would be impossible to house all of the people who would be in jail.

Probation will have a set of rules that have to be followed.  For example, the person on probation cannot be arrested for new charges, they have to meet monthly with a probation officer, they have to pay probation fees, and they may have to pass random drug screens, to name a few.

If someone is on probation there are two different options for probation, it can be either supervised or unsupervised.  Unsupervised probation means that you do not have to meet with a probation officer, and about the only way you can violate your probation is if you are arrested for committing new crimes.

If you are on supervised probation, you can violate your probation for a number of reasons, some as simple as not reporting to probation, not updating your address, or failing a drug test.

What happens when your probation is violated?  Well, the first thing that will happen is that you will be arrested.  Violating your probation is a crime.  Then, you will be taken before a judge and not only face jail time on your violation charge, but a judge could sentence you to now revoke your probation and serve the remainder of your original charge in jail instead of on probation.

One of the most frightening parts of probation is if you are charged with a crime and arrested while on probation, even if you did not commit the new crime with which you are charged.

Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties.  He works in many areas, including criminal, personal injury, landlord-tenant, probate, and estate planning. Visit for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.