Frequently Asked Questions

If your question is not answered below, call or email us. For answers to employment questions, please go to the Employment FAQs page.

My child has been arrested. What happens now?
My child is being released from the Youth Detention Facility. What do I need to do?
What’s the difference between Probation and Parole?
What’s the difference between being sent to jail or prison?
What’s the difference between formal and informal Probation?
Can probation be revoked?
I was a victim of a crime. Am I entitled to restitution?
How do I pay my restitution?
How do I file a restraining order?
How do I have my juvenile record sealed?
Where can I find a list of Batterers' Treatment Programs? 


My child has been arrested. What happens now?

If your child is suspected of a criminal act and law enforcement has taken him/her into custody, your child could receive a citation and be released to your custody or booked into custody at the Youth Detention Facility. For more information on the process, please visit the Booking Information page. To contact Probation staff at the facility, please call 916-875-6996.

 

My child is being released from the Youth Detention Facility. What do I need to do?

Children released from the Youth Detention Facility may only be released to a parent or legal guardian presenting legal identification. For more information, please go to the Release From YDF Custody page. To contact Probation staff regarding a release, please call 916-875-6996.

 

What’s the difference between Probation and Parole?

Probation is a decision handed down by the judge at trial. It may be in lieu of county jail time or in combination with some jail time. It allows the convicted person to live in the community for a specified period of time under the supervision of a probation officer. Depending on the circumstances and the seriousness of the crime, the judge can specify restrictions on the offender's activities during the probationary period. The Judge can also require the offender to attend treatment and counseling. Probation is used for sentencing in both misdemeanors and felony cases.

If an offender violates the conditions or rules of probation, he or she may be sentenced to jail and/or additional punishments by the judge.

Parole is the early release of an inmate who has served part of his or her sentence in a State prison. The inmate is allowed to return to the community under the conditions of parole and the supervision of a state or federal parole agent. Violation of these conditions can result in a revocation of the parole and re-imprisonment for the offender. The decision to grant parole is the responsibility of the Parole Commission.  Prison sentences are used for the most violent crimes or those where state law specifies prison sentences for specific types of offenses.

 

What’s the difference between being sent to jail or prison?

Jails are locally-operated correctional facilities. In Sacramento County, the Sheriff operates the main jail. Inmates sentenced to jail usually have a sentence of one year or less, although this can vary by state. Jails also incarcerate persons in a variety of other categories, such as:

  • People being held pending arraignment, trial, conviction, or sentencing

  • Those who have been returned to custody following violation of the terms of their release

  • People being transferred to the custody of other criminal justice/correctional authorities

Prisons are operated by either a state or the federal government, and confine only those individuals who have been sentenced to one year or more of incarceration. Generally, persons sentenced to prison have been convicted of a felony offense.

 

What’s the difference between formal and informal Probation?

Courts may place an individual on informal probation with requirements that they do community service and possibly other terms.  Adults on informal probation are not under the jurisdiction of the Sacramento County Probation Department.

All juveniles, both informal and formal are under the jurisdiction of the Sacramento County Probation Department.

Typically informal probation does not include “searchable probation.”  A person who has “searchable” as a condition of probation, may have their home, person and car searched by law enforcement.

Formal probation is for more serious offenses.  All adults placed on formal probation are under the jurisdiction of the Probation Department. They may be required to check in with an officer, subject to home visits, and stricter conditions for probation. It is more common for those on formal probation to also be “searchable.”

 

Can probation be revoked?

Probation is a sentence with certain conditions that must be followed. If any of the conditions, such as no drug use, are violated, the probation officer will notify the court or prosecutor. The prosecutor may decide to file a complaint asking to have probation revoked.

The court has several options after finding that someone has violated the terms of his or her probation. The court can impose any sentence that could originally have been imposed for the crime originally committed, including jail. The court could also re-sentence the offender to probation, even on the same terms as before. The Court may re-sentence the offender to probation but increase the severity of the conditions, such as placing the offender on home detention or in an intensive supervision program, or requiring them to complete a drug treatment program.

 

I was a victim of a crime. Am I entitled to restitution?

If you suffered a loss as part of a crime, you may be entitled to restitution for the value of stolen or damaged property, medical expenses, and lost wages or profits due to injury or time spent as a witness or assisting the police or prosecution. In order to receive restitution, you must complete and return the claim forms that are sent to you from the Probation Department.  You will also need to provide copies of bills (including medical), receipts, insurance documents, and/or estimates to substantiate your claim.

Please note: The restitution processes for victims of adult offenders and victims of juvenile offenders differ. You can find more information about restitution claims resulting from adult offenders on the Victims of Adult Offenders page. You can find more information about restitution claims resulting from juvenile offenders on the Victims of Juvenile Offenders page.

If you need further assistance or have questions about the forms, contact the officer named in your letter or call (916) 874-1500.

There is no guarantee, even if ordered, restitution can be recovered; however, the Probation Department, along with the Department of Revenue Recovery, will attempt to collect restitution on your behalf.

 

How do I pay my restitution?

Both juvenile and adult probationers may be ordered to pay restitution as a condition of probation.  Restitution includes court fees, fines, and costs for detention or commitment in a juvenile institution. Restitution is also paid to victims to cover costs such as property damage, replacement and medical treatment. You may not be released from probation until you have paid all your restitution, even if you have met all other conditions of probation. 

When ordered by the court, adults who are convicted of a crime are responsible for paying restitution. Minors and their parents, as well as guardians whose guardianship began before the adjudicated minor was 10 years of age, are accountable for the costs of restitution ordered by the court for crimes committed by the minor. Restitution is collected by the County Department of Revenue and Recovery (DRR).

 

How do I file a restraining order?

For information about filing a restraining order, please visit the Sacramento County District Attorney's  Restraining Order Assistance page.

 

How do I have my juvenile record sealed?

You may petition the Court to seal your record or request the Probation Department petition the Court on your behalf. For more information, please visit our Juvenile Record Seals page.

 

Where can I find a list of Batterers' Treatment Programs?

The county provides several batterers' treatment programs. For more information, visit our Adult Field page.