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Virginia Probation Basics

Probation provides convicted individuals with an alternative to incarceration. It usually involves supervision by court personnel and limits on the individual’s actions. In the state of Virginia, courts may grant probation in exchange for a suspended sentence, or as a transition tool between incarceration and complete release. Community safety is the essential purpose behind probation, as the courts try to ensure that the individual can act as a law abiding and productive member of society.
When probation is initially ordered, the Office of Community Corrections appoints an officer (PO) to the case. The PO officer provides direct services regarding the individual, to include:

  • Background investigations and creation of reports for court consideration
  • Instruct individuals about the specific conditions of his/her probation
  • Provide relevant resources for treatments
  • Monitor the individual for compliance with probation conditions
  •  Arrest and notify the courts of probation violations
  • Arrange drug and alcohol testing


An important aspect of probation is the check-in process. Depending on the directions of the court, Virginia check-ins may occur in person or by telephone. These meetings are meant to provide the PO officer with a personalized assessment of your compliance. In addition, PO officers can choose to check on you in your community unannounced, to ensure that you are actually living at your reported address or maintaining employment.

Search and Seizure

Under Virginia’s probationary regulations, you are subject to search at any given time, with no necessity for probable cause. You essentially waive your Fourth Amendment protection as part of your probation status. This means that the PO officer can search your person during a check in or, under some circumstances, your residence during a home visit.

New Offenses

Abiding by the law is a major part of compliance. A new arrest can result in a violation, even before the court adjudicates the new charges. Once a violation occurs, you can be rearrested. A judge will determine whether your probation should be revoked, resulting in incarceration. When facing a probation violation, a criminal defense attorney is vital to a successful outcome.

Drug and Alcohol Screenings

If deemed appropriate, the probation officer may order you to participate in regular drug and alcohol screening. These tests may be scheduled or ordered randomly without prior notice.

If you are on probation in the state of Virginia, contact the attorneys of Shannon & Associates for a free consultation. These lawyers can assist in ensuring that you are on the right track to successful completion of your probation obligations. Contact Shannon and Associates, Attorneys at Law online or call (757) 228-5529 today.

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