If you were recently convicted of a crime, you may have been given probation as part of your sentence. As an alternative to jail, this probably seems pretty lenient—after all, you get to serve your sentence at home and go about your life as usual, right? While this may be true to an extent, if you are charged with a probation violation, you could face far tougher penalties.

When you were first sentenced, the judge most likely assigned a probation officer to your case. This person is responsible for keeping tabs on you and making sure you abide by the terms of your probation, and part of those terms may include meeting with him or her on a regular basis. As a result, missing a scheduled meeting with your probation officer is usually a violation—in fact, it’s one of the most common types.

Your probation sentence probably included other ground rules, many of which may be based on your original offense. For example, if you were found guilty of driving under the influence, your alcohol use may be restricted and even monitored through random drug and alcohol testing. Other common requirements for probation include performing community service, attending a drug or alcohol education program, and paying monthly probation fees.