Scales of Justice and Inside a Courthouse


Justin M. Crozier Aug. 30, 2016

Things were going so well.

Yeah, you got in some trouble with the law a few months back, but you had been doing a great job!  Now, almost by accident, you've violated your probation.  Maybe you took a drink when you weren't supposed to, maybe you got a ride from a friend who was on probation and you didn't know they were, maybe you got caught in possession of some less than legal substances.


Let me walk you through this a little bit.  To do that, I want to explain the different kinds of probation you can be put on and what it will look like if you are about to have that revoked (or keep it from getting revoked).


SIS means "Suspended Imposition of Sentence."  This means they will not convict you as a guilty dude unless you make a mistake.  They will not IMPOSE the sentence on you if you are a good little boy or girl.  As far as probation goes, it's about as good as it gets.  Once you have completed this kind of probation they dismiss the charge against you!  Pretty great, right?  Well they only do this for people who have never really gotten in trouble before, thinking that they will learn their lesson and stay out of trouble in the future.  This can be supervised (meaning you check in with a Probation Officer once in a while) or it can be unsupervised (meaning you just live your life and stay out of trouble).

SIS is a very good option for people who haven't had any prior issues with the law.  It really does help keep your record clean, as long as you stick with the program and stay out of trouble.

SES Probation

SES Probation means "Suspended Execution of Sentence."  That means they have sentenced you, you are going to have a criminal record, but they might not send you to jail  and "execute" the sentence if you can stay out of trouble for a while.  This is not as good of a deal as SIS probation.  However, it IS better than going to jail.  SES is almost always a supervised probation.  You are probably going to have give random urinalysis, you probably won't be able to own a firearm, and you may have other very severe restrictions on your record.  I do my best to keep my clients from getting an SES, however, if it is the choice between that and 4 years in the penitentiary.... well SES could be worse.


Diversion, strictly speaking, isn't probation.  Well, not exactly.  Diversion basically means that the prosecutor is willing to dismiss the charge if you don't get in trouble for the next six months or so.  It isn't supervised, but it usually costs more than just the standard fine.  Most places in Missouri do not offer Diversion.  The places that do offer it (Kansas City Municipal Court) usually only offer it on a very limited basis, and not for every kind of case.  If you can get Diversion, then get it.  It's the best, but you may not qualify and they may not offer it.


Calm down!  It's going to be okay.  Well, hopefully.  So here is the deal, if you screw up on probation by doing something you are not supposed to do you may not be headed to jail.

If you got SIS Probation and it is your first slip up on your probation then the Court might let it go.  Of course this all depends on what you did.  If you took a stiff bong rip, the Court might shake its finger at you, put you on supervised probation, keep you on SIS, and then make you take a Urinalysis once in a while.  Could be worse.  However, if you sacrificed a puppy and hung it out to dry over your neighbor's door....well the Court might be a little more harsh.  You get the idea, the worse the thing you did to violate your probation, the more likely you are to be in big trouble.

There is a chance that the Court might want to change you from SIS to SES probation.  If that is the case, we might be able to work out a deal that you do a little time and keep the SIS.  This depends on the charge and on your record as to whether that is a good idea or not.

If you have regularly screwed up on Probation (you don't make court dates, you keep getting caught with multiple kilos of cocaine, you just won't stop beating your girlfriend) then the Court is probably going to revoke you.  Or they might throw you in jail for 60-120 days and then put you back out on SES to see if you have learned your lesson.

If you have an SES probation and you have violated it then the Court is more likely to be hard on you.  For the most part, you don't get SES unless you have made a mistake in the past.  At this point the Court is beginning to think that you can't manage to keep it together and they are considering just locking you up.

Don't worry yet, you still have options.  Hire an attorney and see if they can work out a deal with the Prosecutor.  It may not be 100% what you want, but it will at least give you the best shot at a fair deal.  It is unfortunate, but probation revocation will sometimes end in jail.  Even the best attorneys in the world can't stop that.  However, you can get a fair deal and you can (hopefully) get out and back to life quickly.

If you have a probation violation issue, question, or whatever, please get in touch with a Lawyer.  Doesn't have to be me, but you do need to talk with someone about the issue and make sure you are being treated fairly.  (It might not be as expensive as you think it is.)

Thanks for reading, and if you have anything you want to say, throw it in the comments below or on my Facebook post.

Good luck out there.