Community control, also known as probation, is an alternative to incarceration. This means that if you are convicted of a crime, the judge might decide to sentence you to community control instead of a jail or prison term, provided that imprisonment for the specific offense is not mandated by law. Alternatively, the judge could sentence you to a period of incarceration followed by a probation period. What happens in your case will depend on your specific circumstances.
If you are sentenced to community control, the judge will place you under the supervision of your county's probation department. Thus, although you will not be serving time in prison or jail, you will still be monitored by the court (or an agency of the law).
The probation department ensures that you get the services you need to address whatever issues led to the conduct leading to criminal charges. It also works to protect the community by helping with rehabilitative efforts to reduce recidivism (the risk of your reoffending).
During your term of community control, you will be required to report periodically to a probation officer. The officer will ensure that you comply with all conditions of your sentence. They will report any violations to the court, which can lead to additional sanctions being placed upon you.
What Are the Conditions of Community Control?
When you are sentenced to community control, you will be required to comply with specific conditions. For all individuals, the base terms of probation include not committing any other crimes and not leaving the state without the court's or probation officer's permission.
The judge may also place residential, nonresidential, and financial sanctions upon you as a part of your probation. The conditions will depend on the facts of your case and whether you committed a felony or a misdemeanor.
For felony convictions, community control sanctions include, but are not limited to:
- Up to 6 months in a community-based correctional facility or jail,
- Up to 1 year in jail for a fourth-degree felony OVI, and/or
- A term in a halfway house or alternative residential facility
- Day reporting;
- House arrest with electronic and/or alcohol monitoring;
- Up to 500 hours of community service;
- Drug treatment program;
- Intensive or basic probation supervision;
- Monitored time;
- Drug and/or alcohol monitoring with random drug testing;
- Requirement to obtain employment, education, and/or training;
- Victim-offender mediation; and/or
- License violation report
- Victim restitution,
In misdemeanor cases, the judge has two options when sentencing you to community control. They can directly order you to probation. Or they can order a jail term and then suspend all or part of the term and place you on community control.
Many of the sanctions for misdemeanors are similar to those for felonies.
They include, but are not limited to:
- Up to 180 days in a halfway house or community-based correctional facility
- A term in a community alternative sentencing center or a district community alternative center
- Day reporting
- Community service:
- Up to 500 hours for a first-degree misdemeanor, or
- Up to 200 hours for a second-, third-, or fourth-degree misdemeanor
- Drug treatment program
- Intensive or basic probation supervision
- Monitored time
- Drug and/or alcohol monitoring with random drug testing
- Requirement to obtain employment, education, and/or training
- Victim-offender mediation
- Suspension of driving privileges
- Victim restitution
If you are given a sentence of community control for a felony or misdemeanor requiring a term in an alternative facility, the court may allow you to be released to look for work, go to school, get treatment, or perform community service. However, the release lasts only long enough for you to complete the necessary task. For misdemeanors, you may be able to serve your sentence in spurts (for instance, only on weekends or overnight), giving you the time to take care of professional or family obligations.
Also, if you are ordered to pay victim restitution, the judge will determine the amount. Their decision may be based on recommendations from the victim, presentence investigation report, or costs to repair or replace property affected by the crime.
How Long Does Community Control Last?
For felonies and misdemeanors, the judge can sentence you to community control for up to 5 years.
What Happens If You Violate the Conditions of Community Control?
As noted above, when you're on community control, you're under the supervision of the probation department. You must check in with your probation officer periodically. They will be monitoring you to ensure that you do what the court has ordered. If they believe that you have violated any of the terms of probation, traveled out of state without permission, or broke the law, they will report it to the court. The judge will then decide what further action must be taken.
Violating any of the residential, nonresidential, or financial sanctions can result in additional penalties, including:
- Increasing your term of community control, provided that the increase does not exceed the 5-year maximum,
- Place more severe sanctions, or
- Sentence you to prison (if you were convicted of a felony) or jail (if you were convicted of a misdemeanor)
For felonies, if you are sentenced to prison for a community control violation, the amount of time you serve may be credited toward your probation term. In other words, the period of community control will be reduced by the amount of time you were in prison. Upon your release, the judge will require you to finish your community control sentence or remove the sentence.
Contact Our Firm Today
If you have been accused of a crime in Cleveland, your criminal defense attorney can seek a favorable outcome on your behalf. While they may be prepared to pursue a not guilty verdict, it can be possible that you are convicted.
Note, though, that a conviction does not necessarily mean that you will be sentenced to the maximum prison term. Your lawyer can work to minimize penalties and help you avoid jail or prison time by arguing for community control sanctions.