Adult Probation Frequently Asked Questions
- Back to Adult Probation Page
- How does my incarceration effect my voting eligibility?
You can register to vote if you are:
- A citizen of the United States of America;
- A resident of California;
- At least 18 years of age or older on or before election day;
- Not currently in state for federal prison for the conviction of a felony; and
- Not currently found mentally incompetent to vote by a court (for more information, please see Voting Rights; Persons Subject to Conservatorship.)
For more information please see Voting Rights for Californians with Criminal Convictions or Detained in Jail or Prison on the California Secretary of State's website.
- What is the difference between Court Probation, Summary Probation, Summary Court Probation and Formal Probation in adult matters?
The first three mean an offender is on probation to the Court without the supervision of the probation officer. A person on formal probation is an offender in which the Court has suspended imposition of sentence to prison and ordered the offender placed under the supervision of the Probation Officer.
- I know my ex-husband is on probation with you. Can you tell me where he is so I can collect child support?
The law prohibits the Probation Department from disclosing this information to you. You may contact Child Support Services for assistance in obtaining child support.
- I know my neighbor is on probation. What can you tell me about him?
The law prohibits the Probation Department from disclosing this information to you as a general rule. If the department determines an offender is a threat to your personal safety, you may be advised of this threat. Megan’s Law determines that you may learn the identity of sex offenders within your neighborhood through the Sheriff’s Office or Police Departments.
- I have a child custody order that says my ex-husband must be drug tested before he can see the children. Will the Probation Department drug test him for me?
No. The department does not drug test anyone who is not under the Probation Departments’ supervision; most often there is a Court order authorizing testing.
- Where are the Adult Probation Offices located?
1125 Third Street
Napa, CA 94559
- What is Probation?
When convicted of a crime, the law says the person convicted will be punished by serving a period of incarceration in the State Prison or County Jail. However, rather than serving this custody time the Court may choose to offer probation to a person (also called a defendant) convicted of a crime. If the convicted person/defendant agrees to probation the Court will order certain conditions, which can include serving some time in jail, completing a treatment program, or paying restitution to the victim of the crime.
- What is a "suspended sentence"?
In certain cases the Court orders a defendant to serve time in prison or county jail but then suspends that sentence on the condition that the defendant successfully complete probation. If the defendant is successful on probation, they will not have to serve the suspended sentence. If the defendant violates probation, the suspended sentence can be imposed.
- How do I find out who my Probation Officer (PO) is?
The Court usually instructs a defendant to report to the Probation Department immediately after being sentenced or released from jail. This means that a defendant will often be reporting to Probation before a PO has been assigned. When a defendant reports after court he/she will complete the paperwork required to set up their probation case with the Officer of the Day. Normally within 14 days the defendant will be contacted by their new PO. If after about 14 days, there has been no contact from the Probation Officer, the defendant should contact the Probation Department. There are occasionally circumstances that may cause case assignment to be delayed.
- How long does probation last?
The length of probation supervision is determined by the Court. Typically probation grants are for three to five years.
- What does "search and seizure" mean?
This is a condition of probation that can be ordered by the Court. This condition allows a probation or law enforcement officer to search a defendant's person or personal property, as described in the court order, without first obtaining a search warrant. If contraband is found, it can be seized and used as evidence in a probation violation or new law violation. A violation can also result if a defendant who has been ordered by the court to 'submit to search and seizure' refuses to allow the search of his or her property.
- Will my employer be notified?
It depends on the specifics of your case. You should discuss this with your assigned Probation Officer at your scheduled office visit.
- Can a person convicted of a felony or misdemeanor domestic violence offense own a firearm?
Anyone convicted of a felony offense cannot own a firearm. According to California Penal Code Section 29800(a)(1), it is a felony for any person convicted of a felony to be in possession of a firearm. Additionally, anyone who has been convicted of certain misdemeanor offenses cannot own or possess a firearm for a period of 10 years pursuant to Penal Code Section 28905.
- Can a defendant live in a different County while being supervised on probation?
The Probation Officer or the Court may allow a defendant to live in a different county. However, approval must be given prior to leaving Napa County. If given permission to live outside the county, the case must be transferred to the defendant's county of residence if it has been established that the defendant will reside there for the duration of the grant of probation. Once the case has been transferred, it will be under the jurisdiction of the defendant's county of residence and the defendant will be assigned to a Probation Officer in that county.
- Can a defendant travel to a different state while being supervised on probation?
Travel to a different state is allowed only with the prior approval of the Probation Officer. Anyone who wishes to move permanently to a different state must complete an application for Probation for Interstate Transfer and Supervision. Only when the application has been approved by both the sending and receiving states will the defendant be given permission to move permanently.
- How is a conviction dismissed?
Your attorney can help you with this process. Penal Code Sections 1203.4 and 1203.4(a) allows certain individuals who have successfully completed probation to petition the court for a certificate of rehabilitation, pardon, or dismissal. The petition will set the plea/verdict aside. The individual will still need to disclose the conviction when responding to direct questions in an application for public office, for licensure by any state or local agency, and for contracting with the California State Lottery.
- Can I get a copy of a probation report?
Generally, reports in adult matters may be inspected or copied through the Clerk of the Court by any person for a period of 60 days from the sentencing date. The Court can also authorize copies be given to persons who petition the court after this 60 day period.
- Can I get an early termination from probation?
Convictions for certain crimes require a minimum period of time on probation. A person on probation who wishes to have their case considered for early termination should contact their attorney. If they are eligible they can request that a court hearing be scheduled. Typically to be considered by the Court or Probation the defendant must have completed at least half of their court-ordered probationary period, completed all requirements of probation such as treatment programs and community service work, have all fines, fees and restitution paid in full and not have any negative law enforcement contact for a period of at least one year.
- Can I find out who is on probation?
Due to confidentiality issues, Probation does not release this information to the public. The Probation Department can accept information from the public to assist in supervising cases and effectively protecting the community. Crime victims are allowed access to certain information, such as restitution payments, and current probation status of the defendant.
- What is the difference between adult probation and adult parole?
County probation is a sentence ordered by a Superior Court Judge. It allows the convicted person to live in their community, sometimes under the supervision of a County Probation Officer, for a specified period of time. Violation of probation terms, or commission of a new law violation while on probation, can result in local jail time or a sentence to state prison. State Parole is the conditional release of a prison inmate after serving part, or all, of a prison sentence. Parolees are released to live in their community under the supervision of a state parole officer. Violation of the terms and conditions of parole may result in revocation and return to prison.
A third category of offenders are not on either probation or parole. Those are the offenders sentenced under AB109 legislation (Adult Prison Realignment). Some of these offenders have received a split sentence (serving a portion of their incarceration in the county jail and the remainder of their sentence under the supervision of the Probation Officer). Others have been released from State Prison, but due to the offense for which they were incarcerated, they are supervised by Probation Officers instead of State Parole Officers. That category of offenders is called Post-Release Community Supervision (PRCS). Both are subject to terms and conditions of release with which they are required to abide or be returned to custody.
- Can I get help for my mental health or substance abuse problem through Probation?
If you are subject to supervision by the Probation Department, referrals to appropriate mental health or substance abuse counseling can be made by your Probation Officer.
- Who is doing the investigation on my case?
The investigating Probation Officer will contact you by mail, e-mail or telephone. You may also call the Probation Department and someone will be glad to answer questions you may have.
- Why am I being referred to the Probation Department's Adult Division, Investigation Services?
According to California Penal Code Section 1203(b)(1), if a person is convicted of a felony and is eligible for probation, before judgment is pronounced, the court shall immediately refer the matter to a probation officer to investigate and report to the court, at a specific time, upon the circumstances surrounding the crime and the prior history and record of the person, which may be considered either in aggravation or mitigation of the punishment.
- Is probation required to follow plea bargain agreements negotiated by my attorney with the Court and the District Attorney's Office?
The Probation Department submits a recommendation to the Court for sentencing based on various factors, including the law, severity of the offense, prior criminal history, acknowledgement of wrongdoing, remorse, attitude and cooperation, social history, public safety, etc. Plea agreements are considered, but an investigating Probation Officer's evaluation may lead them to a different recommendation to the Court.
- What do I need to bring to my pre-sentence interview?
Please bring the following items to your pre-sentence interview:
- Adult Information Sheet
- Proof of residence
- Proof of employment/Verification of income or financial support
- Proof of medical or mental illness
- Valid driver’s license or state identification card
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or immigration status
- Back to Adult Probation Page