5 Ways that Being on Probation Can Affect Your Lifestyle

More people in the United States are out on probation than you might imagine. If you are one of these individuals, there’s no reason people should vilify you for it. Maybe you did make a mistake, but if you paid your debt to society, you should be able to resume your life, make money, start a family, etc.

Unfortunately, there are some negative ways being on probation can affect you. Let us go over a few of them right now, so you know what to expect.

Some Jobs Might Turn You Down

A 2013 study found that there were about 3,910,600 offenders on probation at the time. They had committed crimes like:

  • Drug offenses
  • Theft
  • Robbery
  • White-collar offenses

There are many other crimes they might have committed as well. Whatever crime you committed, though, you need to get work to support yourself.

You might find that difficult. You have to tell any company to which you apply that you’re on probation, and it’s more than likely they’ll ask what you did. If it’s something relatively innocuous, they still might hire you.


However, there’s nothing to say that any company must hire you, and they might choose another candidate who seems equally qualified but who doesn’t have your baggage. They may not admit that’s the reason they turned you down, but that won’t make you feel any better about it.

You might ask your probation officer if they know any companies that specifically hire people who are on probation. They may be your best bet to give you a shot.

It Might Be Hard to Get a Date

Maybe you’re single, and you want to start dating. Much like with a work interview, the person is bound to want to talk about your past.

That’s not something that you should conceal. That’s because:

  • It’s not fair to the other person
  • They’re going to find out soon enough anyway

It’s best to handle it like a Band-Aid: rip it off right away. If you sit down with them at a restaurant, tell them right off the bat.

If they stick around, it’s out in the open, and you can get past it. If they immediately get up and walk away, then you’ll know that it wasn’t meant to be anyway.

You should also mention that you’re on probation in your profile if you’re doing online dating. If someone contacts you, they’ll already know about it, so you can tell they’re still interested.

You Can’t Usually Travel

If you like traveling a lot, that’s going to be hard for you until you get through with probation. Often, you can’t leave the state, or maybe even the city.

You can sometimes ask about leaving for a particular reason, like a wedding or funeral. If it’s something like that, you can usually get a special dispensation to go and be with your family. You’ll probably have to return right after.

You can still make travel plans, though. You must wait until you are no longer on probation and can move around freely again. Think about your excitement when you can take that trip you’ve planned for so long.

You Can’t Be Around Criminals

This is a tough one for some people. You’re not supposed to be around criminals or suspected criminals. Maybe that applies to a lot of your friends or former friends.

If you know that your brother, uncle, cousin, a buddy from school, etc. is a criminal, you can’t be near them. If you ignore this order and spend time with them, you can get in trouble and possibly go back to jail.

Your family or friends may have a hard time with this, but it’s something they have to accept.

Some People Won’t Trust You

Some people you meet might also not trust you completely if they find out about your past. That might include possible romantic interest, coworkers, or just casual acquaintances.

Like it or not, there’s a stigma around former criminals. Some people think “once a criminal, always a criminal.” They feel like you can’t change.

You don’t have to hang around those people, though. If you want to, you can try to change their minds. It’s only through continually monitoring your behavior that you might be able to win them over.

Being on probation is challenging, but it’s not forever. You can probably get through it okay if you buckle down, work hard, and stay away from any bad elements.