What is the Difference Between Supervised and Unsupervised Probation in South Carolina?

When a person is charged with and eventually convicted of a crime, one common punishment that may be inflicted as part of the sentence is probation. Essentially, probation refers to a specific period when an offender can either be released from prison or avoid going to prison altogether, so long as he or she meets some specific conditions set forth by the court. For example, somebody convicted of a drug crime may be able to avoid prison time, if he or she submits to monthly drug testing during the period of probation.

In South Carolina, there are two main types of probation that can be served: supervised and unsupervised. If you want to learn more about how probation applies to your specific situation, we encourage you to contact the Leventis Law Firm by calling (803) 256-0113 or filling out our online contact form.

Understanding Unsupervised Probation in South Carolina

When a person receives unsupervised probation in South Carolina, this means there is no probation officer watching over him.  Instead, the offender is trusted to follow the conditions of probation as set by the court, as well as paying any fines or other fees required. So long as the offender stays out of trouble with the law for the probationary period, there is no need for following up with a probation officer or taking any additional measures. Generally, unsupervised probation is given to first-time offenders and those who have been convicted of less serious crimes.

Not all states offer unsupervised probation. If you receive unsupervised probation, you will be far less restricted than most people who are constantly being supervised by a probation officer. If you’re wondering how to get unsupervised probation in South Carolina, you should know that you typically won’t have a say in the matter, though an experienced defense attorney might be able to provide you with a defense that makes the penalties you face lighter and, thus, lead to a less harsh probation than you might otherwise receive.

Understanding Supervised Probation in South Carolina

Supervised probation, on the other hand, is a bit more complex and has much stricter terms for the offender. The main characteristic of supervised probation is that the offender will be assigned a probation officer whose job it is to check up on the offender regularly. Likewise, the offender may be required to meet with the probation officer, submit to regular drug testing, and possibly even pay a supervision fee to the court. This type of probation is more commonly offered to those who are repeat offenders or those who have been convicted of more serious crimes.

In the state of South Carolina specifically, there are many different types of supervised probation. The Intensive Supervision Program is one of the more common and is utilized to increase accountability for offenders on probation. This type of probation is supervised by specialized officers/agents for a period of up to six months, and offenders are required to pay a supervision fee of $30 per week.

Home detention is another commonly used form of supervised probation in South Carolina; this requires offenders to remain within the confines of their homes/residences and be tracked by a GPS-enabled device to ensure they do not leave their properties except for under certain circumstances allowed by the court—such as while going to school or work.

Other supervised probation programs used in court systems across South Carolina include:

  • Community Supervision – This probation program is for those who have been sentenced to a “No Parole” offense and have served 85 percent of their sentence at the SC Department of Corrections, according to the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services. People under community supervision are supervised for two years.
  • DJJ Release – This probation program is for those who are at least 17 years old but under the age of 21. People subjected to DJJ Release have been adjudicated delinquent by a Family Court and conditionally released from SCDC by the Juvenile Parole Board. The reporting process is the same for these offenders as it is for adult offenders.
  • “On-the-Outside” Mentoring – “On-the-Outside” mentoring is for non-violent offenders. The program connects inmates with adult mentors through community and faith-based mentoring partners.
  • Supervised Furlough II-A Program – Some inmates might be eligible to be released into the community to serve the last six months of their sentence through the Supervised Furlough II-A Program. The majority of those who are granted this furlough are subject to electronic monitoring. Eligibility for this program is limited, though, as candidates must have committed an offense on or after June 13, 1983, and before July 1, 1993.
South Carolina has implemented these specific forms of probation to address the individual needs of offenders and, ideally, to reduce recidivism rates.

The Difference Between Supervised and Unsupervised Probation

The primary difference between supervised and unsupervised probation is the scrutiny you’re subjected to. Though both types of probation can be subjected to processes like drug tests, those under unsupervised probation aren’t being constantly monitored by an officer. People in unsupervised probation are given a greater degree of trust by the state.

If you are placed under unsupervised probation, you should consider yourself fortunate. The difference between being placed under supervised and unsupervised probation represents a great deal of flexibility and freedom for those who aren’t constantly being watched by a probation officer.

Explore Your Legal Options with The Leventis Law Firm

If you’re currently facing criminal charges, you’ll want to make sure you understand your rights and possible defense strategies in preparation for your day in court. At The Leventis Law Firm, we work tirelessly to represent people like you who have been charged with crimes ranging from drunk driving and drug-related offenses to domestic violence, white collar crimes, and sex crimes. Set up an appointment for your free case consultation today by contacting us at (803) 256-0113. We look forward to helping you explore your legal options.