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Conditions of probation

One thing a drug possession conviction can lead to is a severe curtailing of one's freedom. A person convicted of such an offense could end up having a nearly complete loss of freedom for a time through a prison sentence. However, prison sentences are not the only penalty that can be issued in drug possession cases that can have significant effects on a person's freedom.

Take for instance, probation. Probation is when a court orders that, for a given period of time, a person will have to comply with certain conditions in order to be allowed to remain out in the community. While probation gives a person more freedom than they would have in prison, it can still significantly curtail freedom. 

How much a person given probation will find their freedom restricted depends on what conditions are included in their probation. Probation conditions can take a lot of different forms, and the discretion courts have when it comes to picking what conditions to attach to a given probation period is generally pretty wide.

There are, however, some limits on this discretion. Generally, a probation condition must:

  • Have some relation to public protection.
  • Comply with any applicable statutory limits.
  • Be reasonable.
  • Not be arbitrary.
  • Not be overbroad.
  • Not be vague.
  • Not be vindictive.

It is worth noting though that conditions that comply with these limits can sometimes restrict some very basic freedoms of a person. Thus, being given probation can impact a person in some very fundamental ways.

This underscores the point that the penalties that can come from a drug possession conviction can deeply change a person's life. This is among the reasons why understanding one's defense options and rights can be very important when facing drug possession allegations. 

Source: FindLaw, "Probation," Accessed March 18, 2015

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