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Questions and Answers About Colorado Probation Programs

H. Michael Steinberg Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer for Colorado Probation Violation Cases

Q: Are all adults and juveniles who are on Probation required to be supervised by the Probation Department?

No, some adults may be sentenced to unsupervised probation. Lower risk adult offenders on supervised probation may be supervised by a private company under contract with the Probation Department. Some juveniles may be placed on probation and supervised by an agency other than the Probation Department such as the Department of Human Services.

Q: Are there sex offenders who are on Probation?

Yes, some sex offenders are on probation. Most adults are ordered to participate in the Sex Offender Intensive Supervision Program which holds them to very strict standards of conduct. Juveniles are assigned to a juvenile probation officer who only supervises sex offenders. Colorado has strict standards for supervision of sex offenders that are established by the Sex Offender Management Board.

Q: Can a Probation Officer arrest anyone?

Probation Officers can take individuals who are on probation into custody. They cannot arrest people who are not on probation.

Q: Can Probation be transferred to another part of Colorado?

Yes. There are 22 Judicial Districts in Colorado, each with a Probation Department. Agreements exist with all the departments so that an individual who lives in one area but is convicted of a crime in another can see a Probation Officer close to home. There are certain criteria that must be met in order for a person to transfer to another district and any person desiring such a transfer must discuss this with their current Probation Officer. Juveniles on probation may have their case transferred to their home Judicial District by the Court through the statutory change of venue process.

Q: Can Probation be transferred to another state?

Yes. Colorado participates in the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision and the Interstate Compact for Juveniles which govern the movement of offenders between states. There are very specific requirements that must be met before anyone convicted of a felony, certain misdemeanors or adjudicated a delinquent will be allowed to move from the state. Generally, we cannot allow someone on Probation to move to another state without the consent of the other state. Talk to your Probation Officer about the requirements and the process. Your Probation Officer must approve of the move and you must apply to the other state through our office and be accepted by them prior to moving.

Q: How can I transfer my Probation from another state to Colorado?

Since Colorado participates in the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision and the Interstate Compact for Juveniles which govern the movement of offenders between states it may be possible to transfer probation to Colorado. Generally, you must have family or employment to be seriously considered. Talk to your Probation Officer about the requirements and the process. You must apply through the Adult or Juvenile Compact office of the state you are in and be accepted by Colorado prior to moving.

Q: How do I find out if someone is on Probation?

Information about an adult’s sentence is considered public information and is available from the District Court Clerk’s office. Juvenile information is confidential.

Q: How do I pay supervision fees and other costs I am supposed to pay?

Adults who are on supervised probation are required by law to pay a $50 per month supervision fee. Other fines and fees plus restitution may be ordered as well. If you are unable to pay immediately, your Probation Officer will refer you to the Collections Office to set up a payment schedule that fits with your personal budget. If you are a lower risk case and supervised by the private provider who contracts with the Probation Department, your supervision fee will be paid to the provider instead of the Collection Office of the Court.

Q: How does someone get on Probation?

A sentence to probation is ordered by the Court after an adult defendant pleads guilty or is found guilty of a criminal offense. A juvenile may be sentenced to probation if adjudicated a delinquent by the Court because of a criminal act. The Probation Department also supervises offenders who reach an agreement for a deferred sentence or adjudication with the District Attorney’s office.

Q: Is Probation the same as Community Corrections?

No. Community Corrections is another sentencing option available to the Judge for adults. However, technically offenders sentenced to Community Corrections are under the jurisdiction of the Probation Department and there are times when a person on probation is placed in the residential program at Community Corrections as a condition of probation. The Community Corrections facility also houses offenders who are coming to the end of their prison sentence and are transitioning back to living in the community.

Q: Is Probation the same as Parole?

No. Probation is a sentencing option imposed instead of a sentence to the Colorado Department of Corrections for adults or commitment to the Division of Youth Corrections for juveniles. Parole is a conditional release from the secure custody provided by either of these state departments. Supervision requirements may be similar and there are rare occasions when someone is on parole and probation at the same time.

Q: What are the “Terms and Conditions” of Probation?

The Terms and Conditions of probation are the requirements set by the Court as part of the probation sentence. Some conditions, like the necessity to remain law abiding, are required by law and others may be more directly related to the specific individual, like attending mental health counseling or paying restitution.

Q: What does the Probation Department do for victims of crime?

The Probation Department provides services to victims consistent with the Victim Rights Amendment through Victim’s Assistance Coordinators. Individual Probation Officers are responsible for enforcing restitution orders and other conditions of probation.

Q: What happens after I have been put on Probation by the Judge?

Unless the Court specifically places an individual on unsupervised probation, you should immediately report to the Probation Office. At that time you will be given instructions about who your Probation Officer is and when to return. If a Presentence Report was not completed as part of your sentencing process, you will be required to fill out a number of forms so that your Probation Officer has complete information about you. During the time you are on probation you will work with your Probation Officer to complete the terms and conditions of probation set by the Court. If you are a juvenile, your probation may be supervised by an agency other than the Probation Department if so ordered by the Court.

Q: What happens if I don’t do what I am supposed to do while on Probation?

The Court will set the conditions of your probation and those will be reviewed with you by your Probation Officer. Violation of any condition may lead to the filing of a complaint with the Court and a hearing where the Court will determine if you violated your probation and if your probation will be revoked. If probation is revoked, you may be re-sentenced to probation or sentenced to Community Corrections, jail or prison if you are an adult or committed to the Division of Youth Corrections if you are a juvenile.

Q: What is “Restorative Justice”?

Restorative Justice or Restorative Community Justice is a philosophy or way of delivering justice that balances the needs of the victim, community and offender in determining the appropriate response to a criminal offense. In general, people who practice restorative justice believe that crime damages individual and community relationships and that safety and the restoration of those relationships through either voluntary or mandated actions of the offender should be the primary goal of the criminal justice system.

Q: What is a Pre-sentence Report?

A presentence report is a document prepared by the Probation Department about a specific defendant. The report provides the Judge with information about the offense, victim impact and the defendant to help with the sentencing decision. Presentence reports are prepared for juveniles and adults.

Q: What is Alcohol Probation?

Alcohol Probation is a type of probation typically ordered in sentences for drinking and driving offenses. The Alcohol Drug Driving Safety Unit (ADDS Unit) is the part of the Probation Department that oversees these probationers. An alcohol evaluation is completed with the defendant and a level of alcohol classes is determined. The ADDS Unit monitors the completions of the alcohol classes, community service, Victim Impact Panel, and any other conditions of the sentence. The probationer does not necessarily have face to face contact with the probation officer after the initial meeting and is not charged a monthly supervision fee.

Q: What is Drug Court?

Drug Court is a special court designed to deal with adult and juvenile defendants whose criminal behavior is directly related to their substance abuse. Participants must be referred for screening by the District Attorney, accepted into the program by the Drug Court Team, and agree to participate. Participants appear in Court weekly and are involved in numerous other activities intended to promote substance free living.

Q: What is the AIIM Program?

The AIIM (Alternatives to Incarceration for Individuals with Mental Health Needs) Program is a joint venture between Community Corrections, Mental Health, the Sheriff’s Department and the Probation Department. Intensive supervision and treatment is provided to adults whose criminal conduct is directly linked to their mental health problems. All AIIM participants are on probation.

Q: What kinds of offenders are on Probation?

Adult and juvenile felony and misdemeanor offenders can be placed on probation. On rare occasions a youth adjudicated for a petty offense may be on probation. A risk assessment is conducted on each probationer to determine the level of supervision necessary to reduce the potential to re-offend. Higher risk offenders are often sentenced to intensive supervision rather than regular probation. Defendants charged with drug related offenses may have their cases assigned to Adult or Juvenile Drug Court, requiring intensive supervision directed to supporting sustained sobriety.


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___________________________
H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
Colorado Criminal Law For Over 30 Years.
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