Probation is a sentence that is usually ordered for defendants who were convicted of a crime on borderline or basic evidence of criminality. Additionally, it is also normally reserved for those with no prior criminal history in most courts in North Carolina. There can be additional requirements such as community service when probation is ordered as well, sometimes in lieu of a fine. However this is usually not the case, as probation is essentially a replacement for a jail term after a conviction.
Probation is often used in cases where minors are being charged with criminal activity that could result in jail time if convicted. An effective juvenile defense strategy could be to request probation instead of a jail sentence even in obvious guilt situations for minors when they go before the court in first-offense cases. And beyond a probation agreement, the best type of alternate resolution is a case diversion.
The best result of any criminal charge negotiation is being placed on pretrial diversion. This is a form of probation that actually avoids a criminal conviction of any type when the defendant completes the requirements of the court. It is assuredly the best outcome in any juvenile defense case because there is no need for probation, which is only allowed after a conviction is recorded. Convicted defendants who have a sentence probated will also be required to serve the jail term if they violate conditions of probation. Diversion offers an additional layer of options for minors and the court when trying to avoid establishing a criminal history before reaching adulthood.
Probation is not uncommon for juveniles or even first-offender adults in cases of relatively low criminal intent. North Carolina courts realize that some defendants get caught up in situations when they are not the primary culpable individual.