What Is the Difference Between Parole and Probation?

Arrested man in handcuffs with hands behind backDo you face an unsure future because of a possible conviction? While you may be concerned with the charges that could put you behind bars, you may be interested to learn you have options for serving time outside of prison.

In many legal cases, the courts offer ways for individuals who face conviction to serve time outside of jail or prison. Two common methods you may have heard of are probation and parole. Despite the fact that the terms sound similar, you should be aware that these consequences are very different. Read on to find out how.

What Is Probation?

If an individual is sentenced to probation, he or she does not have to spend time in custody. They can serve a sentence while living at home instead of in prison or jail. In some cases, a judge may sentence somebody to jail or prison time followed by a certain amount of time on probation.

You may be able to request probation as part of your court case, and you may be successful if you appear to be a good candidate. Good candidates are typically first time, non-violent offenders.

Probation is a time of supervision. While on probation, you may need to demonstrate with proof that you follow the orders of your probation. For instance, you may need to maintain employment or take regular drug tests.

If somebody who is on probation gets into trouble or fails a drug test, he or she may go back to jail or prison. Probation terms vary and depend on the case. Missing even one mandatory meeting can mean you revoke your probation.

Ultimately, a judge will sentence an individual to probation if he or she can prove not to be a serious threat to society. However, the judge does not typically grant probation for violent offenses. Successful probation means demonstrating to the court a willingness to rehabilitate and become a law-abiding member of society.

What Is Parole?

Individuals who receive parole actually receive an early release from jail or prison. They have already served some time behind bars, often more than half of their original sentence.

Parole is not available to everybody behind in bars. With crimes like murder, a judge may sentence an individual to life without parole. This sentence means that the individual will never have an early release.

Additionally, Wisconsin’s Truth in Sentencing Law has made individuals who commit felonies and who must serve one year in prison after 1999 no longer eligible for parole interviews. However, in some cases, early release is still granted – it is just much more difficult to obtain.

People who are on parole also are under supervision in a way that is extremely similar to probation. If an individual fails the conditions of parole, he or she must go back to prison or jail to serve out the remainder of the original sentence.

Parole is not always easy to obtain. In many cases, individuals must go before a parole review board to demonstrate that they are rehabilitated. In addition, people who are able to leave on parole exhibit good behavior while in prison.

How Can You Better Understand Your Legal Options?

The best way to understand your various legal options is to call a criminal defense attorney. Daniels, Long & Pinsel, LLC, has many legal professionals who understand the system and the potential consequences you may face.

Do you still have questions about your future? Call our firm to learn more about your legal options. Set up a free consultation with a skilled attorney today. We conveniently offer two locations to better serve your needs.

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