My previous probation officer allowed me to report by phone. What do I do if my new PO sees this as a violation, even though I complied with all of the terms of my probation?

UPDATED: Jul 15, 2023Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Jeffrey Johnson

Insurance Lawyer

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Insurance Lawyer

Mary Martin

Published Legal Expert

Mary Martin has been a legal writer and editor for over 20 years, responsible for ensuring that content is straightforward, correct, and helpful for the consumer. In addition, she worked on writing monthly newsletter columns for media, lawyers, and consumers. Ms. Martin also has experience with internal staff and HR operations. Mary was employed for almost 30 years by the nationwide legal publi...

Published Legal Expert

UPDATED: Jul 15, 2023

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

UPDATED: Jul 15, 2023Fact Checked

Issues concering reporting to a new probabtion officer (PO) are more common than you might think. Your first step is to start reporting as your new probation officer wants you to. This will demonstrate that you are actively trying to stay in compliance. To deal with the past phone reporting issues, you should consult with a defense lawyer that specializes in criminal law. A criminal lawyer can help you develop evidence of your past phone reports with your previous probation officer and can subpoena your old probation officer to appear at any contested hearings.

Gathering Proof of Compliance with your Probation Officer

It’s important to make sure that you maintain proof of all of your required appointments and payments. If for some reason your probation officer refuses to provide you verification of either, use verifiable methods of payment and send your probation officer a certified letter each month verifying compliance with your reporting requirements. This is especially critical when you have a probation officer that has approved relaxed “oral” or phone reports.

As noted, poor recordkeeping can cause problems when a new probation officer wants to violate your probation. The problem is that “relaxed” probation officers often don’t record those “oral reports” in your file, so the record looks to others like you have had no contact with the probation officer since your conviction. A good criminal lawyer may be able to help you recreate or find notes in your file to verify your phone reports.

Reviewing Your Probation File

Many states will allow your lawyer to subpoena or inspect your probation file for these details. For example, your new probation officer may just be looking at your physical file, but not at notes your old probation officer made on the screen in your electronic file, or vice versa. If your file shows that you paid your probation fees as ordered on a monthly basis, those payments are also evidence that you were in contact with your prior probation officer. It’s unlikely that you were trying to abscond while making your payments. Finally, if you have to go to a final hearing before the judge, your lawyer can subpoena your old probation officer to the hearing to verify that you were authorized to do phone reporting.

An extreme, but possible, solution is to ask your lawyer to subpoena your probation officer’s phone records for a couple of the months in question. This works best if you used a cell phone. It won’t prove that your old probation officer let you phone in your “reports,” but it will at least verify that you were consistently calling in to the probation department. Your criminal lawyer should also investigate whether your probation department records all phone calls as a matter of policy. If they do record phone conversations between probationers and PO’s you should request copies of any phone calls.

Avoiding Revocation While on Probation

It’s frustrating to get caught between the different reporting requirements of a relaxed probation officer and a strict PO. However, doing nothing will generally only cause you more problems. Complying with the requests of the new officer and being proactive in developing evidence to support your case will help you avoid the severe consequences of revocation. Going forward, good records to verify phone reporting will help you prevent any issues due to poor recordkeeping by a relaxed probation officer.

Case Studies: Dealing With Reporting Issues to a New Probation Officer

Case Study 1: The Compliance Challenge

A probationer faced a situation where their previous probation officer allowed them to report by phone. However, when a new probation officer took over, they considered this method of reporting a violation, despite the individual having complied with all the terms of their probation.

The probationer sought legal advice to navigate this issue and ensure they were not wrongly penalized.

Case Study 2: Gathering Proof of Compliance

In another case, a probationer experienced difficulties due to poor recordkeeping by a relaxed probation officer. The probationer’s oral reports were not properly documented, creating a situation where it appeared they had had no contact with their probation officer.

To address this, the individual consulted a criminal lawyer who helped them gather evidence to verify their compliance with reporting requirements, including subpoenaing phone records and inspecting the probation file.

Case Study 3: Balancing Reporting Requirements

Probationers found themselves caught between the different reporting requirements of a relaxed probation officer and a stricter probation officer.

Recognizing the potential consequences of non-compliance, the individual proactively complied with the requests of the new officer. They also worked with their lawyer to develop evidence supporting their case, ensuring they had a strong defense in case of revocation.​

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Jeffrey Johnson

Insurance Lawyer

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Insurance Lawyer

Mary Martin

Published Legal Expert

Mary Martin has been a legal writer and editor for over 20 years, responsible for ensuring that content is straightforward, correct, and helpful for the consumer. In addition, she worked on writing monthly newsletter columns for media, lawyers, and consumers. Ms. Martin also has experience with internal staff and HR operations. Mary was employed for almost 30 years by the nationwide legal publi...

Published Legal Expert

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption