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Frequently Asked Questions

Is probation the same as parole?
Parole is a conditional release of a prisoner before the end of sentence . Probation is an alternative to incarceration for selected defendants who meet certain criteria.

Does a person escape punishment by receiving probation?
No, in fact, some offenders choose to serve their sentence in prison in order to avoid probation supervision. Probation has strict regulations and accountability requirements. Probationers must obey the law and be employed or enrolled in school. Most are required to pay restitution, court costs, fine and fees, as well as work a number of hours doing unpaid community service. They may not change jobs or move without the probation officer's permission. Urinalysis is required to document they are not abusing alcohol or drugs. Treatment is required of those with a history of drug use. The probationer may be ordered to pay the cost of treatment.

Can the probation officer search a probationer's home?
Yes. As a condition of probation, probationers must agree to give the probation officer access to their residence, car, or area where they work. Officers may search anytime they have reason to believe contraband or evidence may be present. A search warrant is not required.

Can the probation officer make arrests?
Yes. In New York probation officers are peace officers and may make arrests without a warrant.

What is the first responsibility of a probation officer?
Public protection. Probation officers strive to assist probationers to live lawful and productive lives, however they will not compromise public safety. They have the responsibility to arrest and request revocation of probationers who demonstrate an unwillingness to obey the law.

Do probation officers have a responsibility to assist probationers?
Yes. They will do as much as possible to assist the probationer to be lawful and productive. The probation officer can be the best friend the probationer has ever had, while requiring responsible behavior and accountability. This does not mean the officer will allow irresponsible behavior.

Do probationers like their officers?
Some do and some do not. It depends on the attitude and behavior of the probationer.

Do probationers have to pay for probation services?
Probationers are required to pay a monthly fee of up to $50 per month. This fee covers a portion of the cost of probation services. Most of the expense is paid by the County and State. CLICK HERE to download, view, and/or print the complete fee schedule. (.pdf file)

Can I make payments with a credit card?
Beginning April 1, 2008, the Nassau County Probation Department began using Government Payment Exp (GovPayEXP) to provide remote credit and debit card payment services for restitution and fee payments. Defendants/probationers now have an additional option to make payments.  Payments are easily made twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. For payment options and instructions CLICK HERE.