Blog Post

CAN I CHANGE PROBATION OFFICERS?

People frequently call me and ask if they can change probation officers. For one reason or another they are not getting along with their probation officer. They believe that if they had a new or different probation officer that things would go easier for them.

Probation officers can be easy or hard. Some are known by their reputation in the legal community to be almost impossible to get along with. That seems unfair if you get assigned to a probation office like that. It seems you should be able to change probation officers.

The problem is that the “system” isn’t designed that way. When you are put on probation you are already being given a break. You have pled guilty to a felony in most cases. Instead of sending you to jail, the Court has given you a chance to show that you can follow the rules of society. And that is where your probation officer comes into play.

Your probation officer pretty well owns you. Unless the probation officer is doing something illegal or in violation of the regulations of the State Board of Probation and Parole, they can make your life awfully miserable and get away with it.

Now, please understand this. I have been an attorney for over 40 years. I know criminal clients hate to be told they are wrong. But in the case of wanting to change your probation officer, in most cases, you are wrong in your thinking. The Court is not going to coddle you just because you don’t get along with your probation officer. In fact, you are simply going to draw attention to yourself as somebody who cannot get with the system.

So, unless your probation officer is violating some law or regulation in dealing with you there is little chance of changing probation officers. You just don’t get to pick who is going to supervise your probation. The best thing to do is to try and get along with your probation officer early in the game. Let him or her see that you know who is in charge. Once you get that established the chances are your probation officer is going to lighten up on you. But until you submit, expect a battle.