Should You Self-Report a Probation Violation?


When you are sentenced to probation for a crime, that sentence comes with a long list of rules that must be followed. However, as you get to live in your own home with your family, following a bunch of tedious rules certainly is preferable to being locked away in prison for a few years. However, there are some that believe only a handful of these rules are important and others can be broken without consequence.

Make no mistake; breaking any rule on probation will be considered a violation. If your probation officer discovers that you violated even a seemingly minor condition of your probation, it could be jail time or additional punishments for you. Yet, what if the probation officer doesn’t catch a violation?

Obviously if you drink or do drugs, your probation officer is likely to catch that on the next urine test. However, it is not likely that your probation officer will catch you if you meet with some old known criminal friends or visit known criminal hangouts, something that is commonly barred while on probation. Yet, if you violate your probation, you do have the option to self-report. Should you do it? What happens if you don’t?


For many, if they think they can get away with something, they will do their best to keep it a secret. However, in almost all cases of probation violation, you will get caught. Knowing this, it is often better to self-report your violation before your probation officer can discover it.

While it might not seem like it matters, being upfront and honest with your probation officer goes a long way. It is up to the officer to report a violation. If you have constantly fought them and tried to deceive them, they will give you no slack. However, if you are honest with them, you will find that they aren’t as likely to throw the book of the law at you.

That being said, there are some things a probation officer cannot look past. If you were to commit another crime while on probation, they need to report this. Yet, if you made the effort to self-report the violation, the act will look good to the judge as well. You will find that honestly reporting violations to your probation officer will limit the magnitude of potential punishments. However, forcing the probation officer to discover your violation means that you don’t get the potentially mitigating factor of honesty.


Consider this unique situation: You were assigned five years probation for a crime. The past 4 years and 364 days were incident-free. However, on the last day of your probation, you violated the terms. With your probation ending the next day, should you self-report that violation or hide it?

Almost everyone would choose to hide it, but just because your probationary period has ended doesn’t mean they cannot charge you with a violation if it is discovered. If your probation officer discovers that violation anywhere within the next six months, then under Minnesota law they can still charge you with a violation.

Even if your probation is almost over, it is still best to self-report. If it is discovered later, you may face a violation hearing that will see you essentially facing twice the punishment for a crime.


Are you facing a probation violation in Minnesota? If you are conflicted on whether to self-report or simply want to work to negate the potential punishments of a violation, contact us today. The Speas Law Firm is dedicated to defending Minnesota citizens that made mistakes but don’t deserve to face unfair punishments.