Criminal Defense Lawyers Explain the Rules of Probation and Parole During the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Do I need to follow the rules of Probation or Parole while the state is in lockdown due to the coronavirus?
Yes, absolutely. Probation Officers and Parole officers are members of law enforcement that provide essential services necessary to maintain the safety of the community. Your individual officer may limit your in-person meetings, but this does not mean that they will not come to your house or that you should not follow the rules. If you have not had contact with your Parole or Probation Officer since Governor Cuomo has announced mandatory work and stay at home orders, you should do so. Having contact with your officer will allow you to know what you should expect during this time. Your Probation or Parole Officer may have different expectations during this pandemic. Importantly, if you do get in trouble or have police contact, you are required to notify your Probation or Parole Officer.
What if my treatment appointment gets cancelled?
If treatment is a condition of your probation or parole, you must still attend all appointments. If an appointment gets cancelled, you should try to get confirmation in writing or text/email so that you can show your Probation or Parole Officer that you did not skip an appointment. You should also notify your Parole or Probation Officer as soon as possible that one of your required appointments was cancelled. Many treatment providers are conducting sessions online via Skype, Facebook, or Zoom messenger. In addition, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are holding online meetings. During these difficult times, you should utilize these resources as much as possible especially if you are struggling with the urge to use drugs or alcohol again.
Will doing well during this timeframe help with my early termination from Parole or Probation?
While there is no guarantee, showing and proving to your Probation or Parole Officer that you can follow all your terms and conditions with less oversight is a good argument if you are seeking an early termination of your Parole or Probation. Abiding by all the rules, orders and conditions proves that you can be a productive member of society without additional oversight and will look good if you seek early termination.