Probation / Suspended Sentence in Victoria
In order to qualify for Probation in Victoria or a Suspended Sentence, the judge must be satisfied that, among other things, you are a suitable candidate for community supervision. This determination will likely be based on information about your past, present, and future. The probationary term may be as short at 6 months, or as long as 3 years. The typical length of probation is 12 to 24 months. The terms of the probation order may include reporting to a probation officer (typically every two weeks), attending counselling of some sort, repaying any damage incurred as a result of the offence, abstention from drugs or alcohol, maintaining schooling or employment, and anything else the court thinks may be appropriate.
Failure to follow the terms of probation is its own separate criminal offence, so it is very important to carefully negotiate all the terms of probation, and alert the court if there are terms that you are not able to follow. Some examples include requesting that reporting can be done by telephone when working out of town, or requesting that the condition of having no weapons have an exception for work tools. The judge will be able to craft the probation order to address your specific concerns, but they must be raised before they can be remedied. We have a long standing record of successfully negotiating conditions that are the least onerous possible for you, while still satisfying the prosecutor and the judge hearing your case.
In Victoria proper there are 4 probation offices. You will likely be assigned an officer based on who is most conveniently located for you. If you have any issues with your probation officer or with any aspects of your probation order, do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced criminal defence lawyers. Through skillful advocacy it’s often possible to request minor changes throughout your probation period.