Frequently Asked Questions

Contact info for Chemical testing: (707) 565-2520

Adult Probation Handbook

The Adult Probation Handbook is designed to help individuals be successful while on community supervision, by answering some commonly asked questions and providing information on what to expect. It is available in both English and Spanish.

English Handbook (PDF: 853 kB)

Spanish Handbook (PDF: 891 kB)

Juvenile Probation Handbook

The Juvenile Probation Handbook is a resource for families and youth involved in the Juvenile Justice System. It includes an overview of Juvenile Probation and the court process, and answers some commonly asked questions. It is available in both English and Spanish.

English Handbook (PDF: 652 kB)

Spanish Handbook (PDF: 812 kB)

Adult Probation

Where are the Probation Offices located?

Hall of Justice, 600 Administration Drive, Room 104J, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Do I have a probation officer if I am on a grant of conditional sentence?

No. You are on informal probation and are not supervised by a deputy probation officer. If you have questions call the Superior Court of the State of California at (707) 521-6500.

How do I report someone on probation?

Call 9-1-1 if it is an emergency or contact local law enforcement. The Probation Department cannot confirm or deny if somebody is on formal probation; however, we can take possible relevant information.

I have been convicted of a felony, can I vote?

Yes, you may register to vote as long as you are not in prison for a felony conviction. For more information you can go to the Secretary of State website at:

How does my incarceration effect my voting eligibility?

You can register to vote if you are: 

  • A citizen of the United States of America;
  •  A resident of California;
  •  At least 18 years of age or older on or before election day;
  • Not currently in state or federal prison for the conviction of a felony; and
  • Not currently found mentally incompetent to vote by a court (for more information, please see  Voting Rights: Persons Subject to Conservatorship).

For more information please see  Voting Rights for Californians with Criminal Convictions or Detained in Jail or Prison on the California Secretary of State's website.

Will I be assigned a probation officer?

If you are on Formal Probation, it takes about two weeks to be assigned to a deputy probation officer. However, supervision starts the day you are sentenced in court, at which point all terms and conditions go into effect. If you are on Mandatory Supervision (MS), you will likely be assigned to a deputy probation officer prior to release from custody. If you are on Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS), you will be assigned once you report to the Probation Department, within 1-2 days of release from custody. If you have any questions prior to being assigned to a probation officer, you can contact the probation department and ask to speak to the Officer of the Day.

Will my probation officer share information about my case with my family? Employer? Spouse?

Adult probation cases are confidential unless permission is given by you to speak with specific persons or entities, or if such permission is a requirement of your terms and conditions. Victims have the right to be notified of the defendant’s case status, general location, and supervision requirements. They will also be notified about their right to seek financial compensation for any loss suffered as a result of the crime. Under Marsy’s Law, victims have the right to be notified regarding changes in the defendant’s case and may be present at relevant hearings. In certain cases, the victim may contact the probation officer to discuss any concerns regarding violations of a criminal protective order or no contact order.

Can I travel out of state while on probation?

Travel restrictions vary based on specific circumstances and the type of supervision. Contact your probation officer with questions about out of county travel. Out of state travel will require a travel permit, submitted a minimum of 2 weeks before your date of travel. Out of country travel will require a court appearance and should be requested at least a month before your date of travel.

What happens if I violate my terms and conditions?

If you violate the terms and conditions of supervision, it could be handled in numerous ways, determined by your probation officer and the judge. Violations may result in your return to custody and/or court. You may also be directed to participate in treatment, programming, community service, or other activities as directed by your probation officer.

Can I get off probation before the expiration date?

The length of your term is determined by statute or the Court. In order to be released from your grant of supervision early, you would need to return to Court and request an early termination.

What is Probation?

Probation is a privilege, not a right. It is a grant of community supervision that is imposed as a structured consequence, or in lieu of a state prison sentence. When an adult offender is convicted of a crime, the Court has the option to suspend a custody sentence and place the offender on a grant of conditional sentence, or on formal probation. If a conditional sentence grant is ordered, the defendant does not report to a Probation Officer. When formal probation is ordered, the Probation Department monitors the defendant in the community and supervises his/her compliance with the Court's conditions. By law, an offender may be required to serve up to one year in the county jail as a condition of probation.

What is the difference between Probation and Parole?

Probation is a sentencing alternative that allows offenders to be supervised in the community, with the imposition of their state sentence suspended or stayed. State parole follows the release from a state prison sentence. When offenders serve a state prison sentence, they are released onto parole and supervised by state parole officers.

What does the Probation Department do to protect the community from the adult offender?

The goal of the Probation Department is to enhance public safety. This is done by offering a continuum of services that provide the least restrictive means of gaining compliance in the community. The Department works closely with offenders to identify and address the areas that create risk for further criminal conduct, and build on the strengths that promote self-sufficiency. Probation Officers assist offenders in setting productive goals, such as finding stable housing, meaningful employment, and sobriety from drugs and alcohol. Probation Officers monitor a defendant's conduct in the community and provide linkages to resources that will enhance the likelihood of success. The frequency and method of Probation Officer contact with offenders depends on the seriousness of the offenses committed and the risks and needs presented. If the offender does not comply with probation conditions, their probation can be modified to require increased participation in community treatment programs, and/or revoked with a county jail or state prison sentence. The Probation Department works collaboratively with local law enforcement agencies, ensuring the timely arrest of high risk offenders.

How do I make an appointment with my Probation Officer?

To make an appointment with your Probation Officer, you should give him/her a call. If you do not have your Probation Officer's number, call the Probation Department at (707) 565-2149.

How do I schedule an appointment for an interview regarding the pre-sentence report?

To make an interview appointment with your Probation Officer, you should call the Probation Department at (707) 565-2149.

How will I be notified of future court dates?

Notification will be by mail or by telephone.

I am a protected person because of a Restraining Order. What do I do if I have been contacted by the restrained party?

If you believe you are in immediate danger call 9-1-1. If you believe the defendant or offender has violated a condition of release, follow up with a phone call to the assigned Probation Officer. The Probation Department's phone number is (707) 565-2149.

Can I move out of the county, state or country?

Individuals on supervision must notify their Probation Officer and obtain prior approval before traveling to another state. Approval will depend on the circumstance of your case and your progress on probation. If authorized, the Probation Officer will issue a travel permit. In order to relocate to another state, you must obtain approval from your Probation Officer, the State of California, and the receiving state via the Interstate Compact process. The Probation Officer does not have the authority to authorize you to leave the country.

What happens if I cannot pay my court ordered restitution, fines and fees?

You may request a temporary monthly payment reduction through your Probation Officer. Making monthly payments based upon the established ability to pay will ensure that further collection efforts are not put in place. A willful failure to pay restitution may result in a violation of probation.

Can I convert the money I owe to jail time or community service work (CSW)?

Statutory fines may be converted to CSW or jail time at the discretion of the Court. Restitution and all other fines and fees are not convertible. The purpose of paying restitution is to make the victim whole and enhance the offender's understanding of the harm they have caused.

How do I clear a warrant?

Contact your attorney, report to the Court clerk’s office in person at 8:00 a.m., or turn yourself in to a law enforcement agency or to Probation.

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Supervised Adult Crews

What is Supervised Adult Crews?

Supervised Adult Crews (SAC) is a jail alternative program for sentenced offenders within the County of Sonoma judicial system. This program allows people with up to a maximum of a 90 day sentence to work their time off on a work crew, instead of going to jail for their sentence.

What kind of work would I have to do?

The SAC program performs many different types of work for government, municipal and non-profit agencies. The types of tasks required may vary from cutting brush, digging trenches, installing irrigation or picking up trash, all the way to painting buildings, pouring concrete, building structures, or historical renovation.

What kind of projects has SAC done?

SAC has built many of the trails that are within Sonoma County Regional Parks and the California State Parks in Sonoma and Marin Counties. If you have walked a trail in Sonoma or Marin County, there is a high probability that SAC has worked on it. SAC replaced and upgraded the sidewalks and parking at the entrance to the Sonoma County Airport to meet ADA requirements. SAC crews perform recycling in many state, county and city parks. SAC crews have been involved in many historical renovations and parks repair projects in Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Solano and Lake Counties.

Are there SAC inmate offenders working in my local parks or community?

As SAC works in all communities in the Sonoma County area, there may be a SAC crew working in or near yours. All SAC crews are supervised by a sworn Peace Officer, trained in inmate control and positive motivation techniques. All SAC crew members are pre-screened and classified as low-risk offenders.

Do I have to work the entire sentence in straight days with no breaks?

No, the SAC program is designed to work with an individual's available schedule, within reason.

For example: if a person is sentenced to 30 days in jail, that person may work their sentence off by working 30 consecutive Thursdays; or 30 Saturdays; or 30 Mondays. 1 work day = 1 sentenced day. The idea is for the person to be able to continue to maintain their job, their home, continue to pay taxes and be a productive member of society and their community, but still be able to pay back their debt to society in a productive and positive manner.

Do I have to take the SAC time? Or can I just go to jail?

SAC is a jail alternative that is offered, not imposed.

How can the County justify the use of offender labor for County work projects?

The State of California has a provision within the Penal Code, PC 4024.2, which allows for sentenced offenders to perform work during their incarceration. As this is a jail alternative, the offenders that take advantage of this program do so of their own free will. The alternative is to do their sentence in jail.

How long is the SAC workday?

The work crews start at 8:00 a.m. and are done by 4:30 p.m. With a 30 minute lunch break, this makes for an 8 hour workday. The Penal Code states that the work day shall be a minimum of 8 hours and a maximum of 10 hours.

How can I get on a SAC crew?

When the Court imposes a sentence on a criminal offender, the Court considers the crime, the offender's past history and recommendations from the Probation Officer. If these all suggest a positive outcome for the offender rather than going to jail, the court can offer the SAC program as an alternative.

Do I have to provide my own lunch, tools, transportation?

Each person must supply their own lunch for the day they work and will be provided a lunch break. Each person must provide their own work clothes. Each person must provide their own transportation to a pre-arranged meeting place, where they will meet and then be transported to the jobsite by SAC staff in a County vehicle. Most SAC crews meet at the County Center in Santa Rosa at 300 Fiscal Drive. SAC provides the tools and equipment for the project/task assigned each day.

How could I hire a SAC crew to work for me?

The SAC program can only contract with government, municipal and/or non-profit agencies. Contact the Division Director or a Field Supervisor for more information about crew costs, capabilities and scheduling.

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Juvenile Probation

What if my child is arrested?

If a youth is arrested and taken to Juvenile Hall, an Intake Probation Officer will contact you to ask your assistance in assessing the youth for further detention. The youth will be scheduled to appear for a Detention Hearing two to three days following his/her incarceration at Juvenile Hall.

What if my child is issued a citation to appear?

The youth will be given a date and time to appear at the Probation Department for an appointment with an Intake Probation Officer, or you will be contacted by mail. At that time, the youth may be referred to diversionary services or may be referred to the Juvenile Court for formal proceedings.

What if I have a court date scheduled, but I cannot make it?

If you are unable to appear in Court on a probation matter, or any other matter, contact (707) 565-6305. Failure to make contact and explain your non-appearance may result in the issuance of a bench warrant.

What happens if my child is convicted of a crime?

Generally speaking, when a juvenile petition is sustained, the Court will refer the youth to the Probation Department for preparation of a Disposition report. You can expect a telephone call from the assigned Investigations Probation Officer within three days of your appearance in Court. Also, the Probation Officer assigned to the Courtroom will provide you with two documents. One is a blue sheet that needs to be completed, front and back, immediately, and provided to the receptionist. The second is a white, three page packet that needs to be completed as thoroughly as possible prior to your interview with the assigned Probation Officer.

When will a Probation Officer contact me?

A Probation Officer will contact a new probationer and his/her family ten days to two weeks after disposition. At that time, a “sign up” or assessment interview will be scheduled with the youth and his/her parent, to review the Court order and answer any questions.

What if I don't know the name of my child's assigned Probation Officer?

For any information about the youth's Probation case, contact the Probation Department's Juvenile Division at 565-6229 during regular business hours, and ask to speak to the Officer of the Day, who will assist you.

What are alternatives to incarceration?

The Probation Department provides two programs specifically designed to act as alternatives to incarceration. The first is Electronic Monitoring. This program utilizes an electronic ankle bracelet to monitor a participant's movements. The second option is Juvenile Hall time served on the weekends, or on Weekend Work Crew.

What if my child is on probation, and I suspect he/she is violating the Court order?

Contact the Probation Department immediately. Advise them of your child’s name and if you know, your child’s Probation Officer. We understand that this may be a difficult decision to make, but it is truly in your child’s best interests that you make contact with the Probation Department as soon as you learn of a possible violation.

How long does probation last?

Probation can range from a minimum of six months for less serious offenses to a longer period as determined by the youth's behavior. In most cases probation will not continue past the youth's eighteenth birthday. In some cases, the Court may maintain the youth on probation until he/she reaches twenty-one years of age.

Are there programs I can participate in to help with the rehabilitative process?

Yes! There are many parent groups available for probationers’ parents/guardian. Ask the youth’s Probation Officer for a current list of programs available in your geographic area.

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Juvenile Hall

When can I visit a youth?

Visiting hours are based on the housing unit that your child has been assigned to. You must arrive within the check in period, please allow enough time to get through the metal detector and provide your Driver’s License or Legal Identification to staff.

Each youth is afforded two, one-hour visiting session per week. Visiting hours are as follows:

Unit 1Check In Visiting 
Thursday6:00 - 6:25 PM 6:30 - 7:30 PM 
Sunday 12:30 - 12:55 PM 1:00 - 2:00 PM 
Unit 2Check In Visiting 
Tuesday6:00 - 6:25 PM 6:30 - 7:30 PM 
Saturday2:30 - 2:55 PM 3:00 - 4:00 PM 
Unit 3Check In Visiting 
Thursday6:00 - 6:25 PM 6:30 - 7:30 PM 
Sunday 12:30 - 12:55 PM 1:00 - 2:00 PM 
Unit 4Check In Visiting 
Friday6:00 - 6:25 PM 6:30 - 7:30 PM 
Sunday 2:30 - 2:55 PM3:00 - 4:00 PM 
Unit 5Check In Visiting 
Wednesday6:00 - 6:25 PM 6:30 - 7:30 PM 
Sunday 10:00 - 10:25 AM10:30 - 11:30 AM

Only parents and legal guardians may visit. Other family members and supportive adults need to be approved through a Juvenile Hall Supervisor.

How can I donate a book?

Books may be donated at the Intake Night Window (immediate left when entering the lobby). Books must be paperback. If the book is intended for a specific youth, they will receive it first. After that, the book will be donated to the Juvenile Hall Library.

What company do you use for collect calls? 

Collect call telephone system is offered through GTL.

Youth have access to payphones during free time. Amount of time allotted for phone calls varies based on their behavior in the Juvenile Hall.

Parents may pay in advance for calls by contacting AdvancePay at (800) 483-8314 or (877) 650-4249.

How do I speak with a Nurse in Juvenile Hall?

Juvenile Hall Health Services can be contacted at (707) 565-6300, option 3.

How do I contact Electronic Monitoring?

Electronic Monitoring can be reached at (707) 565-6300, option 2.

How can I write to a youth and what can be accepted through the mail?

If you’d like to write to a youth in custody please address it to their name at 7425 Rancho Los Guilicos Rd. Dept. A, Santa Rosa, CA 95409. Only letters, pictures, and stamps can be accepted through the mail. All mail is screened for contraband prior to the youth receiving it. Mail is only read by staff when there is reasonable belief that safety and security is jeopardized.

How do I contact someone about records?

Probation records (707) 565-6229, option 8.

Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) records (707) 524-2876.

Can I call and have a message delivered to my son/daughter?

Communication during visits, phone calls, and letters is preferred. In the event you have urgent information to pass along to a youth in custody, call (707) 565-6300, option 9.

Can I put money on the books for a youth?

No. Juvenile Hall provides the youth with what they need while in custody. Extra items can be earned through appropriate behavior within the Behavior Management System.

Can I bail my son/daughter out?

Bail is not available for youth overseen in Juvenile Court. If a non-minor is in custody in Juvenile Hall for an adult case only, bail may be a possibility.

My child is in custody, how much does Juvenile Hall cost me per day?

There is no cost.

Do you have a “scared straight” program?

No, we do not.

My child was booked and released, now what?

Detention is determined through the use of a risk assessment with supervisor oversight before a court hearing. A judge will determine custody status once a youth appears in court. If it has been decided that your child should be released without restriction, you will be notified to come pick him/her up. A letter will accompany your child informing you that if you are not contacted via phone or mail by a Probation Officer in two weeks, to call the Probation Department at (707) 565-6229.

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Probation Camp

Who operates the Camp program?

The Camp Program is a division of the Sonoma County Probation Department and its staff are Probation employees: Juvenile Correctional Counselors, vocational counselors, administrative and support personnel. There is also an on-site school operated by Sonoma County Office of Education, as well as Health Services staff and Behavior Health staff provided by the Department of Health Services.

How and when is a youth sent to the Camp Program?

After a screening process by Juvenile Probation Services, a recommendation is made to the Juvenile Court Judge, who then determines if the Camp Program is an appropriate venue. This decision to commit a youth to the program is made at the dispositional hearing.

What is the duration of the Camp program?

The program varies in length depending on the youth's progress, but averages between nine and twelve months, including the aftercare component.

What is the age of the population served by the program?

Boys committed to the program range in age from 15-1/2 to 18 years old.

What is the focus of the Camp Program?

The program focuses on addressing the anti-social/criminal behaviors and thinking patterns of the youth. Each component of the program is designed to assist youth in taking responsibility for their decisions and behavior. The primary goal is to give youth as many tools as possible to succeed and become responsible, productive members of the community.

What products and services does Camp provide?

The Probation Camp is the largest manufacturer of Parks products in California including con-heart redwood picnic tables and benches, steel camp fire rings and barbecue stoves. In addition, the culinary program provides catering services to city and county agencies, as well as the general public.

Does Probation Camp give donations or discounts?

As a government agency, Sonoma County Probation Camp is not eligible to give any donations or offer discounts. Please see our Products page for reduced priced products.

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