This article is for general information only and should not be relied on for specific legal advice. The author will not be held responsible for any action that a person takes as a result of interpretation of the contents of this article. It is important to seek specific advice from a qualified and experienced lawyer for any legal problem.
Probation is a sentencing option that the court has that is used as an alternative to, or in conjunction with a jail sentence. Probation is typically used when the Defendant has a particular need for supervision or ongoing support and guidance in the community (for example a drug addiction) and would benefit from supervised rehabilitation whilst in the community.
A period of probation can be ordered anywhere between 6 months and 3 years.
The court will impose a period of probation typically when an element of supervision is required for the defendant.
If you are sentenced to a period of probation the Court can still exercise their discretion under section 12 of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 on whether or not to record a conviction against you if you are sentenced solely to a probation order.
What a Probation Order Entails
Probation is intensive supervision by the probation and parole office and will require constant contact with the allocated supervising officer. A person on probation must report to the nearest probation and parole office usually within 48 hours of the time of sentence. It is recommended that you go and report to that office immediately after court.
If you sentenced to a Probation Order you will have the following standard conditions that you must comply with:
- You must report to nearest The Office of Probation and Parole within 48 hours;
- You must not commit another offence during the period of the Probation Order;
- You must notify the Office of Probation and Parole of a change of address within 48 hours;
- You must not leave the State of Queensland without permission from the Office of Probation and Parole;
- You must comply with every reasonable direction of the Office of Probation and Parole; and
- You must comply with every direction to undertake counselling as directed by the Office of Probation and Parole.
The standard conditions that are included on a probation order mean that you may have to complete courses or programs at the direction of your probation officer. If there is a cost associated with these courses or programs, you will be expected to attend to the payment required.
The Court has the power under section 94 of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992, to consider imposing further conditions on the Probation Order that a defendant is sentenced to. These conditions can include:
- Getting assessed for any medical, psychiatric or psychological issues and then completing any treatment as directed by your probation officer;
- Complying with any Urine or Breath testing at the direction of the Office of Probation and Parole;
- If the offence is a domestic violence offence, the court will impose a condition that you undergo a domestic violence course during the period of the probation order;
- And any other specific requirements the Court deems the Defendant should address to assist in their rehabilitation.
If you breach probation in any way, then it is likely that you will be summonsed to go back to court. In that event, your probation order could be revoked, and you could be resentenced in relation to the original offences (this could include a harsher sentence).
The Court cannot sentence you to a period of Probation unless you are willing to consent to the Probation Order and the conditions that you will be subject to.
The Court will read through the conditions that you are being sentenced to and ask you to confirm if you will consent to the Probation Order. If you do not consent to the Probation Order, then the Court will have to consider alternative sentencing options for your matter.
List of Probation and Parole Offices in Queensland
Beenleigh, Brisbane (Spring Hill / Chermside / Buranda), Bundaberg, Burleigh Heads, Caboolture, Cairns, Cleveland, Emerald, Gladstone, Gympie, Harvey Bay, Inala, Innisfail, Ipswich, Kingaroy, Logan City, Mackay, Mareeba, Maroochydore, Mt Gravatt, Mt Isa, Noosa Heads, Pine Rivers, Redcliffe, Rockhampton, Toowoomba, Roma, Southport, Thuringowa, Thursday Island, Townsville and Wynnum.
What Happens If I Do Not Comply With My Probation Order?
If you fail to comply with your Probation Order while it is in place, then you will face a further offence of Breach of Probation Order. This means that your matter will be sent back before the Court with a breach pack that is prepared by Probation and Parole.
A breach offence occurs when:
- You have committed another offence during your probation order period; or
- You have failed to comply with the conditions of your probation order or to complete your probation order.
If you have breached your Probation Order than Probation and Parole can seek that your Probation Order be revoked and you be resentenced for the offences that you received Probation for. If the breach is proven then you can face a fine for breaching your probation order.
They can also recommend if you are still suitable for further community-based orders such as Community Service Orders or Intensive Corrective Orders. If you are not suitable for further community-based orders you run the risk of the Court considering a period of imprisonment in relation to your offending.
Courts have zero tolerance for breaches of probation and will impose strict penalties. The penalties of the breach vary depending on the severity of the misconduct and the nature of the offence.
Our team specialise in criminal defence. Our role is to sit down with you and work out the strategy that will get you the best possible result. If you have any questions about this article or any other topic of law, please call our team of experts on 1300 066 669.