Probation is a sentence that a convicted criminal may be given instead of, or in addition to, time in jail. While a criminal is on probation, he is allowed to live in the community, but must report to a probation officer who keeps track of him and notes how he's doing with the terms of his probation. If a criminal violates the terms of his probation, he may end up back in jail. Felony probation is the type of probation given when a person has been convicted of a felony, which is a serious type of crime.
There are a couple of different ways that felony probation can be handled. For example, if a person is convicted of committing a felony, a judge could sentence him to jail time but may decide to place him on probation instead. In other cases, a judge may require a criminal to spend a certain amount of time in jail but allow him to serve the rest of his sentence on probation. If a person would normally be given two years in prison, for example, a judge could have him spend 18 months in prison but allow the last six months to be spent on probation.
In most cases, the probationer is faced with a number of restrictions. First, he may be required to have frequent contact with his probation officer, and regular formal meetings may be mandatory. The probation officer may be required to verify the felon's residence and his place of employment. He may also need to know whom the felon is living with and when he is scheduled to work. In most cases, travel is restricted as well; felony probation typically prohibits travel out of the state, except when it is approved by a probation officer.
Often, this type of probation lasts for about three to five years, though the length of the term may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. This is a longer period of time than is normally sentenced for someone guilty of a misdemeanor and, in many cases, misdemeanor probation lasts for about one to three years. Likewise, the terms of the probation may be stricter when someone has been convicted of a felony.
A person who is on felony probation is usually required to maintain a very clean existence. Since probation is a criminal sentence, he is still under the supervision of the criminal justice system. If he breaks the law, he is likely to be sent back to jail.