Parole and Probation Are Two Different Things: Do You Know the Difference?

Parole and Probation Are Two Different Things: Do You Know the Difference?The realm of criminal law may be perplexing, especially for those who are unfamiliar with all of the jargon used by cops, attorneys, and judges on a daily basis. Probation and parole, for example, are two words that have quite different meanings yet are frequently mistaken by persons who are unfamiliar with the system. Keep reading to learn the difference and contact Chambers Law Firm at 714-760-4088 right away if you are facing any criminal charge.

Understanding parole

Probation and parole are two very distinct things. While both are basically periods of governmental surveillance, they are used in distinct situations. When a person is convicted or pleads guilty to a crime, a court may impose probation as part of their punishment. Probation either eliminates or drastically reduces a person’s term in prison.

For example, instead of 9 months in jail, a person may be sentenced to 3 months in jail followed by 6 months of probation, or the person could be sentenced to 9 months in jail with no probation. It may be both casual and formal.

In formal probation, the defendant’s compliance with the terms of his or her probation is monitored by the court or a probation officer. The offender is not required to check in with the court or a probation officer during informal probation, but must give documentation that he or she followed the requirements of probation after it is completed.

Understanding parole

Parole, on the other hand, is a type of monitoring that takes place after a person is released from custody. It is always formal, and it is only used in criminal situations where a defendant has been sentenced to a California state prison term. If a person has been sentenced to a particular length of incarceration as a result of a felony conviction, he or she will be placed on parole when they are released.

If a person is facing a prospective life sentence (for example, “25 years to life”), he or she will be eligible for parole after serving a portion of the sentence, but only if the parole board finds them eligible. Following release, the parolee must visit with his or her parole agent on a regular basis. If he or she breaks the terms of his or her parole, his or her release might be revoked, and he or she could be sent back to jail.

The importance of probation in the plea bargaining process

Probation may be a powerful negotiating tool for your defense attorney to use. For example, a lawyer may be able to persuade the prosecution that probation is a better option for rehabilitating a first-time offender who has a motive for committing a criminal act — such as a young offender who was persuaded to shoplift by friends — than a period of incarceration (jail time).

Probation is typically desired since it means that a person will not be condemned and will instead get probation, or that their sentence will be reduced.

The criminal justice system is complicated, and it frequently need the counsel and help of a skilled criminal defense lawyer. If you have been charged with a crime call the Chambers Law Firm at 714-760-4088 or dchambers@clfca.com to learn how our attorneys can assist you. The first consultation is always free.

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