Probation is one of the most common forms of criminal punishment imposed in the Massachusetts criminal justice system. Convicted offenders may be sentenced to a term of straight probation, a term of probation that runs concurrently with a suspended jail sentence, or a term of probation that follows a period of incarceration.
Persons on probation, referred to as probationers, are supervised by a designated probation officer from the court or county where a criminal case is adjudicated. For example, a defendant who admits guilt and is sentenced to a term of probation by the Bristol County Superior Court will be monitored and supervised by a designated probation officer from this Court.
Probationers are required to comply with certain conditions while under supervision. Conditions include, but are not limited to:
- meeting or communicating with an assigned probation officer,
- attending counseling or other courses,
- abstaining from drug and/or alcohol use,
- and the payment of money, which may for restitution to victim(s) of crime and/or costs and fees owed to the Court, such as victim and probation service charges.
Monthly probation service fee
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Traditionally in Massachusetts, any person placed on probation was required to pay a monthly probation service fee. Persons on unsupervised probation were required to pay a monthly fee of $50, whereas persons on supervised probation were required to pay the increased monthly fee of $65.
This monthly probation service fee was required by Massachusetts criminal law, and specifically, M.G.L. c 276, § 87A. Effective July 1, 2022, probation service fees are no longer required in Massachusetts. This recent development in the Massachusetts criminal justice system will provide probationers with considerable financial savings.
The effects of this new law eliminating probation service fees are as follows
First, any fees past due or owed for any month and year, including and before June 2022 remain payable and shall be paid, unless ordered by the Court.
Fees due on or after July 2022 are no longer required and are considered waived. For those probationers who prepaid probation service fees that were previously required for any time period after July 1, 2022, the trial courts have indicated that they intend to issue refund checks.
If you are on probation in Massachusetts and have questions about your obligation to pay probation service fees, call the Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyers at the Law Office of John L. Calcagni III, Inc. today for a free consultation. We may be reached at 401-351-5100 or email.