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Is there a way to modify terms of probation in TN?

A court, on its own, or at the behest of a probation and parole officer, the defendant, or even the district attorney can seek to modify conditions of probation. However, the process is complex, and courts do not take it lightly.

Probation is a situation where a defendant receives a jail sentence that is suspended and therefore not served in lieu of meeting other requirements set by a court. Probation is generally supervised. If the defendant is under a supervised probation, further supervision may be lifted as long as the defendant remains under the jurisdiction and the authority of the sentencing court unless and until the sentence expires fully. It is also important to note that probationary status can be revoked at any time during that period.

When supervised, a defendant is either assigned to a county probation officer that they must report to on a set schedule or they may be supervised by the Tennessee Department of Probation and Parole. If the defendant has a probation violation, they will be required to finish their jail or prison sentence.

Typically, the criteria that can influence a court's decision in considering granting a defendant probation is the nature and the circumstances surrounding the criminal behavior that the defendant has committed. Another factor that a court may take into consideration is the defendant's viability for proper rehabilitation as well as the probability that the defendant could be a repeat offender.

Judges also have to consider whether granting a full probation may unjustifiably lessen the gravity of the committed offense in question. Similarly judges must also consider whether granting probation may serve as sufficient deterrent to other potential criminals that may consider committing the same or similar offences.

Thus, even though modification of probation is possible, it is not simple and a court takes into consideration may factors.

Source: Tennessee Courts, "Alternative Sentencing: Probation, Community Corrections, Diversion, Modification And Revocation," Tennessee Judicial Academy, Accessed Sept. 21, 2015

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