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What Is the Typical Length of Time Someone Will Serve Probation?

Interviewer: How long can probation be? What’s the normal range of it?

In Ohio, the Range for a Probation Term Is One to Five Years

Adam: In Ohio, if you’re granted probation, you legally have to be on probation for at least one full year, and then the maximum amount of time you can be on probation is five years. Most people are on for five years, and then generally the judges will leave it up to the probation department.

You Can Complete Your Probation Early, Dependent on the Probation Officer’s Reporting to a Judge

If I have someone on probation for five years, and they’ve done really well, after approximately two years, I can make a report to the court and say, “This person’s done really well. Everything’s accomplished. We feel good about them being off of probation.” Then the judge usually listens to us and lets them off early.

Interviewer: So, there is time off for good behavior on probation, like in prison?

Adam: An early release from probation is dependent on a judge’s ruling. If the judge orders five years of probation, the judge has to approve it if it’s less than that. We can’t do anything without the judge’s approval.

In prison, they do have ‘early release for good time’. If you are in prison, they offer vocational programming. If you take advantage of programming in prison and don’t have any discipline problems, then you get ‘good time.’ You get one day for every three days of good time.

You Are Permitted to Petition the Judge to Consider Releasing You From Probation

Interviewer: If someone was doing well on probation, do you encourage them to speak to the judge, if they’re mandated a certain amount of time, to reduce it?

Adam: Absolutely. We want people to get off early. We have high caseloads. My caseload right now happens to be 150. If someone can get this accomplished, then there’s no need for him or her to be on probation anymore.

It’s good for them because they get off probation early. It’s good for us because that’s one less person we have to monitor.

What Crimes Typically Include Probation in Their Sentencing?

Interviewer: Are there certain offenses that tend to include probation more than others?

Adam: In Ohio, if you have an F4 or F5 felony offense, which generally is drug possession or low-level theft, you’re required to get probation unless you have a significant prior record. They’re required to get probation, and that’s generally what happens.

The serious sex offenses, felony 1, felony 2 offenses will get incarceration almost off the bat, regardless of what your record is.

By Adam Hunt

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