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How Often Is Probation Ordered by the Judges in Ohio?

Interviewer: How often are people put on probation? Is it always after a resolution of a case?

Adam: In my experience, the majority of the time defendants will get probation. Unless someone has a lifetime record of getting into trouble, most people get the opportunity to have probation and then, if they fail, they’ll go to prison, but I find courts generally, unless there’s something in the revised code that says, “For this offense you have to go away,” someone will almost always get probation.

They’re willing to give defendants a chance. The courts are willing to give everybody a chance because people make mistakes. It’s those people who chronically continue to do it that end up getting incarcerated right off the bat. Otherwise, you will have a chance to right your wrong, as it were.

Most Defendants Will Receive Probation Instead of Jail Time

Interviewer: Is probation’s usually more of an alternate sentence instead of going to jail?

Adam: Yes. A person on regular probation only has to check in with their probation officer once or maybe twice a month. They have to get randomly drug tested once or twice a month.

In the scope of things, I could be in prison for 12 months, or I could come in and report to my probation officer for 15 minutes once, twice a month. Probation works out better that way. If you really think about it, it’s not asking a lot. It’s better than losing 12 months of your life.

Interviewer: That’s a huge difference, you’re right. I saw it as an added punishment. Let’s say you have 30 days of jail time on a case, and now we also have you on probation. Some people perceive it as, “I thought everything was done. Now I have this as well.” Or does it not happen like that?

What Is the Term “On Paper”?

Adam: It does happen that way sometimes. They consider that 30 days in jail would be a condition of probation. Then they get out and go, “I just did 30 days with probation.” Most of my probationers call it paper. “Why do I have to be on paper?” You are on paper because you have to document everything. “Why am I on paper?” It’s 30 days in jail, or you could do 30 months in jail.

Interviewer: People call it being ‘on paper’?

Adam: Yes.

Interviewer: Are there any other slang terms you’ve heard for it?

Adam: That’s the cleanest and most acceptable one.

Interviewer: The only reason I ask is that once it’s on the web, people tend to search using slang a lot. That’s why I asked to put it on there.

Adam: That’s the most common one.

By Adam Hunt

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