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Probation Frequently Asked Questions

The following answers are in general terms and should not be viewed as full and complete or answered in their entirety. There may be exceptions, policies, or other statutory requirements that could affect or otherwise change some of the answers given and it is the reader’s responsibility to seek these out.

1) Do we pay our fines and costs to you or who do we give our money to?

By policy, Court Services staff may not receive any court-ordered financial obligations from clientele or from anyone on behalf of our clientele. Those obligations must be paid directly to the Clerk of Courts in the county where the sentencing occurred.

2) Can I still hunt and fish?

If a juvenile, you may continue to hunt and fish while on probation unless the judge or court services officer has specifically ordered otherwise. As an adult, you may not possess any firearms if convicted of a felony. Once your probationary period is completed successfully or prison/parole term is completed you may make application with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), a federal agency, in an effort to get your right to bear arms reinstated. The ATF has various waiting periods and those are based upon the crime committed. There are some crimes that, if committed, could disallow someone from ever possessing a firearm again. If you have committed a felony and are granted a Suspended Imposition of Sentence by the Court, you may not possess firearms during the time that the court order is in effect. Once a discharge order is signed by the sentencing judge releasing you from the Court’s jurisdiction under such a sentence you may immediately begin to possess firearms without the necessity of contacting the ATF unless the judge had specifically ordered otherwise. Finally, state statute also prohibits the possession of firearms for some misdemeanor offenses and you should seek legal counsel to find out what those may be.

Unless the judge or court services officer has specifically told you otherwise, all probationers are allowed to maintain and use a fishing license while under the Court’s jurisdiction.

3) May I still travel outside the state?

If you are on formal probation your court services officer may allow you to travel outside the State of South Dakota for any purpose deemed appropriate. You must, however, obtain a written Out-of-State Travel Permit from your court services officer in order to do so prior to any such travel. Leaving the state without this permission or travel permit may be construed as a violation of your probation.

4) If I’m on probation under a Suspended Imposition of Sentence may I answer “NO” on job applications when asked if I’ve ever been convicted of a crime?

If granted a Suspended Imposition of Sentence the Court views the matter as a conviction until such a time that a successful Discharge Order is signed releasing you from the Court’s jurisdiction. We strongly suggest that the probationer be honest on all applications and provide further clarification to the potential employer if necessary. Once the sentence has been completed successfully and a Discharge Order signed, your record for this felony is sealed and you may then rightfully answer “NO” to that question on applications.

5) What is the difference between a Child In Need of Supervision (CHINS) and a delinquency?

A CHINS is defined as a status offender and is not appearing before the Court for a law violation. The allegations may include such things as habitual truancy, runaway, or that the juvenile is beyond the control of his/her parents. South Dakota statute also now provides that Possession or Consumption of Alcohol by a juvenile is a status offense as well. If the allegations are either admitted to by the juvenile or are found to be factual by the judge, the juvenile can be adjudicated and a number of dispositional options are available to the Court. The Court may not commit a CHINS to the Department of Corrections upon initial disposition, but may consider this option at such time that the juvenile violates a valid court order.

A delinquent is a juvenile who has either admitted to or been found by the Court to have committed a violation of the law. The judge basically has the same disposition options available to him as a CHINS. However, the judge can consider a committal to the Department of Corrections at initial disposition.

6) How can I enroll my child in the CHINS program?

This is not a “program.” Anyone who believes that a child under the age of 18 years fits the criteria as a Child In Need of Supervision may discuss the matter with their State’s Attorney. Should the State’s Attorney find merit in those allegations and concerns, he can file a formal petition with the Court to begin the process.

7) How much is it going to cost me if my child is committed to the Department of Corrections?

If your child is committed to the Department of Corrections you will be expected to complete a thorough financial status report for your court services officer. The judge will order you to pay a specific amount of parental support during the time your child remains with the DOC and will set that figure out in an Order. The amount will be based upon the figures and information you have provided. At such a time that your financial status changes drastically for any reason and you feel you cannot continue to pay the parental support as ordered, you may ask for a reduction hearing before the judge. At the time of that hearing you must be able to provide written proof and verification of those changes. Ultimately, the judge will decide whether to raise, lower, or maintain your parental support.

8) Can you tell me if someone is on probation?

In general the answer to this question is that we will not provide this information to you when asked. There are exceptions. Releasing the names of juvenile probationers to any individual or agency is only allowed if a circuit judge has allowed us to do so through the signing of a specific court order for that purpose. Otherwise, juveniles are protected under confidentiality laws. Adults are somewhat different. They are not protected under those same confidentiality laws. Therefore, a court services officer may choose to answer this question if you are asking about an adult, but only if it is felt that it is needed to assist in the overall supervision of that probationer. Court Services support staff will not answer this same question under any circumstances but will be able to refer you to a court services officer.

9) Can I have an extension in order to complete my obligations to the Court?

Whatever your obligations to the Court may be, you are required to complete any and all of those in the time given you by the Court at the time of sentencing in order to remain in compliance. Court Services does not have the authority to grant you an extension of any nature. The sentencing judge is the only person with the authority to do so. However, if your court services officer feels an extension is warranted, he/she may be willing to approach the judge on your behalf.

10) How can I get a work permit?

If the Court has revoked, suspended, or otherwise taken your driving privileges away it is only that Court that can authorize that a permit be issued to you. If so authorized, the work permit is normally processed by and obtained through the Clerk of Court’s office in the sentencing county.

11) When can I get off probation?

Normally when the Court places an offender on probation it is for a specific length of time. If you have remained compliant throughout your probationary period, you will be released successfully when that time has concluded. There can be exceptions. If you have satisfied all probation conditions/obligations and your court services officer believes it would be in your best interests and in the best interests of the State of South Dakota for you to be considered for early release, he/she may be willing to ask the sentencing judge for an early release. Your probation could also be extended for a period of time under certain circumstances. As an example, if you were ordered to pay a significant amount of financial obligations, have made a good faith effort throughout your probationary period to do so in the time allowed, and you find that you will not be able to meet that deadline, your court services officer may choose to ask the sentencing judge that your probationary period be extended in order for you to meet your obligations and remain in compliance. Your court services officer would only consider this option if he/she believes you have made every attempt to comply previously.

12) Have you received verification that I have completed my alcohol classes?

In the Third Judicial Circuit our support staff is responsible for monitoring the completion of court-ordered assessments and alcohol classes for First Offense DUIs. Most of these must be completed and received by the secretary in that coverage area within 90 days………the standard time given in most cases. It is the defendant’s responsibility to make sure that this is received in a timely fashion and that it is written verification from the approved provider. It is not the alcohol provider’s responsibility to send the verification. The defendant will ultimately be held responsible if compliance verification is not received by Court Services within the time frame allowed and further court proceedings and appearances by the defendant will result. It is always a good idea to call the Court Services secretary in the appropriate catchment area to verify receipt of the written verification if you, the defendant, mailed it in.

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