Interviewer: When you said there are just two levels – supervised and unsupervised – are there more levels of probation?
Lauren Scardella: That’s all. Two levels of probation: supervised and unsupervised. There’s really no unsupervised probation that ever comes out of Superior Court. It’s only in municipal court that probation would be unsupervised.
Interviewer: Let’s say you’re on probation for three years, and you’re a year into it and you’re successful so far. Could you petition to get your probation turned from supervised to unsupervised, or shortened?
Lauren Scardella: Even better: you can file a motion to have it terminated early. A lot of times they will terminate you from probation early if you’re not a problem. Probation officers are really there to make sure that the defendant is on the right path and is doing everything they’re supposed to do to lead a law‑abiding life. If the defendant is not a problem, and does everything he or she is supposed to do, then the officers often do say, “I’m okay with this person not being supervised any longer.”
That also happens a lot with PTI. Somebody may be put on PTI for the maximum 36 months, but after a year Probation says, “They’ve done everything, so we’ll just terminate the PTI and say that they’ve done it successfully and dismiss the charges early.”
Interviewer: Are you going to offend your probation officer if you try to get your probation terminated early or shortened? Would they take offense to that and try to make you violate?
Lauren Scardella: No. I don’t think that it offends them. I think that they’re probably used to people trying to get out of it as early as possible.
Interviewer: I guess what I’m asking you is it true that some probation officers are just out to get people? Or is that a myth and they’re mostly good people?
Lauren Scardella: I think it’s a myth. TV and the movies has perpetuated a stereotype of probation and parole officers that is largely untrue. They probation officers are there to help you, not get you in more trouble. If you do what you’re supposed to do, you won’t have a problem with them, but if you don’t do what you’re supposed to do, they’re not going to give you a lot of extra chances.
What You Need to Do When You Have Successfully Completed Your Probation?
Interviewer: Once you complete probation, what do you have to do? Are you automatically done with your case, or do you have to file papers and do stuff to finish off the disposition of your case?
Lauren Scardella: Once you’re done with probation, you’re done, unless there’s restitution that still needs to be paid. You’d still have to pay them on a monthly basis, but once you’re done with probation, you’re out; you’re let loose. You don’t have to do anything else, other than continue to comply with any financial obligations that weren’t previously satisfied. Also, it is generally a good idea to try not to get in trouble with the law again.