Consider this before accepting a probation deal in South Carolina.

Probation may seem like a good deal, but for some the provisions can be harsh.

Getting charged with a crime can be a frightening experience. Whether facing charges for driving under the influence of alcohol, possession of an illegal substance, domestic violence or other offenses, an offer for probation may seem like a good deal. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Don't accept a "deal" for probation without first seeking experienced legal representation, like the attorneys at Aaron & Aaron. In some instances, probation may be an acceptable offer, but only after your attorney has explored potential weaknesses in the State's evidence, or other aspects of the case which could result in a more favorable result.

The high cost of probation

An article in The New York Times recently discussed the downside of probation, noting some probation sentences can result in hefty fees and potential prison time for violation of the agreement.

Agreements vary, and some can be strict. The story discussed the case of a woman who was charged with drunk driving after hosting a Christmas party and offering to take some relatives home. She ultimately agreed to a probation deal which cost her $105 a month in fees to cover probation and drunk-driving monitoring as well as $70 per week for 26 weeks to attend an alcohol education course. Overall, the woman was required to pay $385 a month in addition to court costs and bail bond fees.

Additional issues can arise in the following situations:

  • Suspension of a driver's license. Without dependable transportation, it can be difficult to get to work. Missed work could translate to repercussions at work. The woman noted in the article above lost her job and states the termination of employment was connected to the strict provisions of her probation.
  • Conditions of the probation deal. Various conditions could be imposed on the probation deal, some of which may be difficult to follow. One example provided in The New York Times piece involved a provision requiring judicial notice to change residences. This could seem reasonable, but in reality this condition can translate to unnecessary hardship. In this instance, the judge refused to provide permission for the woman to move units within the same apartment complex due to a pest problem.
  • Court dates. Court hearings may be required to clarify whether conditions of the probation agreement were violated. These hearings can be scheduled during the workday, which may result in additional missed work. This could also contribute to potential loss of employment.

Although the story above involves a probation case in Maryland, similar situations can occur in South Carolina.

Probation in South Carolina

The law in South Carolina also requires the individual serving probation cover various fees, which can include supervision fees, electronic monitoring fees, extradition, maintenance polygraph fees as well as other administrative fees. If someone serving probation fails to follow the conditions, additional administrative sanctions can apply.

This story provides one example of how probation can go wrong. As a result, it is important that those charged with a crime take the charges seriously and contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. This legal professional will review the details of your case and tailor design a defense strategy to your needs, better ensuring a more favorable outcome.