UPDATED MARCH 12, 2019
As a New Jersey criminal attorney, I am asked if a guilty plea and probation will result in jail time. In New Jersey, if you accept a plea in exchange for probation, you can still go to jail in certain situations.
First, it depends on the terms of the probation. In New Jersey, there are two types of probation: custodial and non-custodial probation. With a non-custodial probation you do not serve any jail time at all. But you would receive a list of conditions that you would have to satisfy. Getting arrested again would violate any probation. But you may have other terms of your probation, like alcohol or anger management counseling, no victim contact, restitution, etc. With a custodial probation, you would have all of the same conditions as with a non-custodial probation but you would actually serve are short period of jail time. For example, you may have to serve 180 days in jail and then do the rest of probation out of jail. And with any type of probation, violating the terms of the probation is a serious matter and could easily land you in jail and/or extend the terms of your existing probation. Finally, you should note that regardless of the plea agreement, the judge is free to give you a jail sentence (but in that case you would likely be allowed to withdraw your plea). Your New Jersey criminal defense lawyer should be able to explain the particular terms of a probation deal before you agree to any kind of plea.