A probationary sentence is a set of terms handed down by a judge as part of sentencing. Probation can be instead of or in conjunction with a jail sentence. The length of a probation sentence depends on the severity of the crime you have committed.
Regardless, it's important to know all of the terms of your probation and to do your best to abide by them. Minor infractions such as a missed appointment with your probation officer or failing to schedule a psychiatric evaluation in a timely fashion count as probation violations, and if you catch your probation officer in a bad mood, it's entirely possible that you can end up behind bars as punishment. Fortunately, the majority of probation officers are compassionate and understanding, and so it takes serious infractions -- such as incurring new charges or being arrested on new charges -- to violate probation.
If I'm arrested, have I violated probation?
Technically, incurring new charges or being arrested on new charges both count as a probation violation. If you are currently on probation, misdemeanor or felony charges will automatically land you in jail not just until your bail can be set by a judge, but until your probation violation is handled by your probation officer. The type of crime you've committed and even your relationship with your probation officer will determine whether or not your probation officer decides whether or not to violate you. Rest assured that even with felony charges, you may be able to escape probation violation charges. And in the event of you receiving your first-ever probation violation, your probation officer may decide to forego the violation altogether in a process that is called Fast Track - when a probation officer agrees with your attorney that there is no need to punish you for incurring new charges.
What are the consequences of violating probation?
If your probation officer does decide to violate you for being arrested, then you can expect to spend extra time in jail - anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks, depending on how quickly your local magisterial judges process new cases.
How can I avoid being violated by my probation officer?
The best way to avoid the risk of being violated by your probation officer is to, from the very start, to establish a good rapport with your probation officer. Arrive on time -- early, if possible -- for all appointments, be honest and forthcoming about what you're doing to improve the circumstances that led you to commit the crime in the first place. The better the relationship with your probation officer, the more likely it is he or she will be kind enough not to add additional jail time and/or fines on your record.