§5B1.2. Term of Probation
(a)When probation is imposed, the term shall be:
(1)at least one year but not more than five years if the offense level is 6 or greater;
(2) no more than three years in any other case.
Background: This section governs the length of a term of probation. Subject to statutory restrictions, the guidelines provide that a term of probation may not exceed three years if the offense level is less than 6. If a defendant has an offense level of 6 or greater, the guidelines provide that a term of probation be at least one year but not more than five years. Although some distinction in the length of a term of probation is warranted based on the circumstances of the case, a term of probation may also be used to enforce conditions such as fine or restitution payments, or attendance in a program of treatment such as drug rehabilitation. Often, it may not be possible to determine the amount of time required for the satisfaction of such payments or programs in advance. This issue has been resolved by setting forth two broad ranges for the duration of a term of probation depending upon the offense level. Within the guidelines set forth in this section, the determination of the length of a term of probation is within the discretion of the sentencing judge.